Foreign Accent Syndrome
Pronounced: FOR-en AK-sent SIN-drome
Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare and acquired speech disorder. In many cases, it is caused by a stroke
Stroke—Common Cause of Foreign Accent Syndrome
FAS is caused by damage to the brain, which may be due to:
- Stroke (main cause)
FAS is also linked it to other conditions, such as:
These factors increase your chance of developing FAS:
- Being at high risk for stroke
- Having one of the above conditions related to FAS
Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to FAS. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Distorting the rhythm and tone of speech, such as:
- Making vowel sounds longer and lower (eg, changing English “yeah” or German “jah”)
- Changing sound quality by moving tongue or jaw differently while speaking
- Substituting words or using inappropriate words to describe something
- Stringing sentences together in the wrong way
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 or years.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. She will also do a physical exam. Tests may include:
- Psychological evaluation (to rule out psychiatric conditions)
Assessment of language skills, such as:
- Tests to assess reading, writing, and language comprehension
- Use of recordings to analyze speech patterns
- Examination of muscles used in speech
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Since this condition is rare, you will most likely be evaluated by a team of specialists, including:
- Speech-language pathologist
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
- Speech therapy—Some reports have shown that speech therapy can help with FOS. For example, you can learn how to better move your lips and jaw during speech.
Since FAS is closely linked to stroke, follow these guidelines to prevent stroke:
Foreign Accent Syndrome Support
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Speech-Language Pathology Website
About FAS. Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) Support website. Available at: http://www.utdallas.edu/research/FAS/about/ . Accessed December 2, 2008.
Dente K. Apraxia, verbal. EBSCO Publishing Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=16topicID=860 . Updated September 2007. Accessed November 16, 2008.
Garst D, Katz W. Foreign accent syndrome. ASHA Leader. 2006;11:10-11,31.
McCoy K. Aphasia. EBSCO Publishing Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=16topicID=1034 . Updated February 2008. Accessed November 16, 2008.
Miller N. Foreign accent syndrome. Not such a funny turn. Inter J Ther & Rehab. 2007;14:388.
Public stroke prevention guidelines. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=PREVENT . Accessed November 16, 2008.
Reeves, R, Burke R, Parker, J. Characteristics of psychotic patients with foreign accent syndrome. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007;19:70-76.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005; B14;117;125; 1314
Last reviewed September 2009 by
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.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.