Woman Comes Down With Chinese Accent After Migraine

April 20th, 2010 | 9 comments | Posted by Jen

Key-razy story via Boing Boing: Briton ‘gets Chinese accent after bad migraine.’

So. Apparently there is this thing called Foreign Accent Syndrome, where your normal accent is suddenly replaced by a foreign one. It’s usually linked to strokes and traumatic brain injury, and only a few dozen people in the world are thought to have it. One of those people is 35 year-old Sarah Colwill of Plymouth, England, who suffered a severe migraine last month that she believes left her with some brain damage.

That, and a CHINESE ACCENT.

Watch here:

I laughed when I watched this, I did, because this whole thing is totally bizarro and made-up seeming and it made me uncomfortable, as in Please-Lord-don’t-let-this-ever-happen-to-me uncomfortable. But Colwill’s experience of this strange affliction seems genuine and a little heartbreaking, and inadvertently illustrates the problem with how people with foreign accents are treated.

Strangers who meet me think I’m foreign. Also some people speak to me as if I am a bit silly, a bit stupid. At time, it’s quite hard, but it’s something I’m going to have to get used to, I think.

In an interview with the AFP, Colwill also said:

The first few weeks of the accent was quite funny but to think I am stuck with this Chinese accent is getting me down. My voice has started to annoy me now.

The Asian accent that seems so funny haha–like in movies, and on TV, and in YouTube videos and commercials, and on Michael Ian Black’s Twitter page–but is actually really godawful and annoying?

Ahhh. We know it all too well.

[via Boing Boing]
[AFP: Briton 'gets Chinese accent after bad migraine']

Thanks, Jasmine!

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9 Responses to “Woman Comes Down With Chinese Accent After Migraine”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jasmined: RT @disgrasian Woman Comes Down With Chinese Accent After Migraine http://dlvr.it/Z1TZ

  2. dalianmoon says:

    Interesting…When I get migraines, I usually get a severe case of bitchitis, and often get physically ill. But an accent? No.

  3. Simon says:

    You can actually hear someone laugh in the background after she says that her voice sounded Chinese.

  4. izzy says:

    Going to admit, I don’t actually hear a “Chinese accent”. Sounds nothing like how my relatives speak.

    I have to say I’m disappointed. My expectations were set a little too high :(
    Headlines can be so misleading…

  5. noneinaye says:

    There is so much dumbassery going on here that it is giving me a migraine.
    It’s called aphasia. Her speaking difficulties are very reminiscent of people after strokes. She might have had a bad TIA or something and didn’t know maybe…I don’t know.

  6. alperryman says:

    First Chinese then Eastern European?

    Basically, all she’s saying that she had trouble making her mouth and brain work together to create proper words. Why the hell would anyone need to name that “Foreign Accent Syndrome”? It’s just one of the big side effects of brain damage.

    Calling it foreign accent syndrome because the patient has trouble speaking their native tongue is…silly.

  7. Jen says:

    @izzy I think she sounds a lot like the college students I taught in China, who had all been studying English for years. It’s an educated accent, kinda fancy and almost British.

    @noneinaye I always thought aphasia was the forgetting of words, but Wikipedia lists a shit-ton of symptoms:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphasia

    Which include: “excessive creation and use of personal neologisms.”

    In other words–no pun intended–DISGRASIAN has aphasia. Or we’re aphasian. See what I mean? Already excessive.

  8. Bambigirl2244 says:

    I actually know a woman that suffers from this. She had a stroke, went into a coma, and came out with a jamaican accent. The only close family she had was her son, and he couldn’t handle it. He thought she was crazy and just pretending to speak like that; he ended up not speaking to her for three years. Quite heartbreaking really.

  9. noneinaye says:

    @ Jen
    Aphasian, Effin lolz. I’m going to start using that.
    Impaired speech is a symptom of a few different kinds of aphasia and not really the focus of any of them. I’m not into neurolinguistics so I can’t explain too too much about it.

    My first guess was a stroke anyways.

    @ simon
    I’m pretty sure it was a dog. You can hear it barking again a little later.

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