Back

Foreign Accent Syndrome

(FAS)

Definition

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.
Stroke—Common Cause of Foreign Accent Syndrome
si1213 97870 1 Ischemic Stroke.jpg
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

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:

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of FAS include:

Symptoms

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.

Diagnosis

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:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Prevention

Since FAS is closely linked to stroke, follow these guidelines to prevent stroke:

RESOURCES

Foreign Accent Syndrome Support—University of Texas at Dallas http://www.utdallas.edu

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) http://www.nidcd.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada http://sac-oac.ca

References

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.

Revision Information