Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare speech disorder. If you have FAS, you adopt what sounds like a foreign accent, even though you may never have traveled to that particular country.
FAS is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls the rhythm and melody of speech. The damage may be due to:
FAS is also linked it to other symptoms, such as:
Factors that increase your chance of FAS include:
Those with foreign accent syndrome speak in a distorted rhythm and tone, such as:
If you have FAS, you may be able to speak easily and without anxiety. Other people are able to understand you. The accent that you have adopted could be within the same language, such as American-English to British-English.
Symptoms can last for months, years, or may be permanent.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done paying particular attention to the muscles used in speech. A psychological evaluation may also be done to rule out psychiatric conditions.
Your language skills will be assessed. This can be done with:
Images will be taken of your brain. This can be done with:
Your brain's electrical activity may be measured. This can be done with an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Since this condition is rare, you will most likely be evaluated by a team of specialists, including:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Since FAS is closely linked to stroke, follow these guidelines to prevent stroke:
Foreign Accent Syndrome Support—University of Texas at Dallas
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Speech-Language and Audiology Canada
About FAS. Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) Support website. Available at: http://www.utdallas.edu/research/FAS/about. Accessed November 23, 2014.
Garst D, Katz W. Foreign accent syndrome. ASHA Leader. 2006;11:10-11,31.
Miller N. Foreign accent syndrome. Not such a funny turn. Inter J Ther & Rehab. 2007;14:388.
Foreign accent syndrome. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2006/060815/f060815c. Accessed November 23, 2014.
Reeves, R, Burke R, Parker, J. Characteristics of psychotic patients with foreign accent syndrome. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007;19(1):70-76.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.