When a Native Becomes Foreign in his/her Own Homeland: A Review of the Foreign Accent Syndrome : A Review of the Foreign Accent Syndrome

University essay from Högskolan i Skövde/Institutionen för kommunikation och information

Abstract: FAS is a speech disorder characterized by changes to the normal speech patterns of the native language. This speech impairment is usually due to stroke or brain injury. Segmental, suprasegmental and prosodic features are altered. FAS speakers’ speech is perceived as foreign rather than disordered. It may be because the speech remains highly accurate and the impairments are generally within the permissible boundaries of the phonological and phonetic variants of the language. In terms of perceptual impression, FAS patients’ speech is placed between speakers with a really foreign accent and the native speaker. Some researchers propose that the impression of foreignness in FAS speakers’ accent may be caused by the listeners misinterpretation of speech markers. Lesions leading to FAS are still not completely understood; some hypothesize that the lesion is small or even down to the size of a single gyrus. New evidence suggests that FAS may be a disorder of the articulate velocity and position maps. The syndrome can be life changing to those affected. Patients report that they are no longer able to recognize themselves speaking a new accent. A whole new persona is born when the accent emerges. This paper presents a review of the syndrome’s features, including its neuropsychological/neuroanatomic aspects, its relationship with AoS and dysarthria, and the syndrome’s psychological implications.

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