LIFE

Foreign Accent Syndrome: What’s It Like To Wake Up With Someone Else’s Voice?

Brain

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a different accent? These poor people with Foreign Accent Syndrome have to live with it every day.

What’s it like waking up with someone else’s shoes on? That’s fairly easy to imagine, that might actually happen, but waking up with someone else’s voice? That sounds like a pretty pointless question to answer, it’s so beyond the realms of most people’s experiences that you may as well ask “would you rather stuff dark energy in your eyes or your balls up your botty?” as both seem stupid to the point of banality.

But waking up to hear yourself talking like you are someone else entirely is actually something that some people have experienced. The condition is called Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) and it’s a type of aphasia which basically means that after a head trauma (stroke, injury, migraine) the bits of your brain that deal with speech are specifically smashed up and consequently function all wrong.

I’d heard of these kinds of stories before but kind of thought they might be made up by someone who wants a shot at fame. But towards the end of last year I saw the case of a guy called Alun Morgan. He was born in England and spent some time as a child in Wales during WWII  but then moved back to England after it ended. He was surrounded by Welsh speakers during his stay but had never learned the language himself.

Skip forward 70 English years and Mr Morgan wakes up from a three day coma induced by a stroke and can only speak Welsh and no English at all. He was pretty flabbergasted, unsurprisingly, and so was his wife, who was the only one who could now understand him. The doctors were a bit taken aback too. Here he is showing off his new skills:

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