09 March 2009

Accent changes after stroke

A 50-year-old woman developed a different accent after she suffered a left-sided stroke.

A 50-year-old woman in the central Canadian province of Ontario developed a Canadian East Coast accent after she suffered a left-sided stroke. Rosemary Dore lived in southern Ontario all her life, has no East Coast relatives, and has never traveled to the East Coast, CBC News reported.

"Everybody, even the doctors ... they (thought) I was from Newfoundland, because I have an accent," Dore said.

This is the first case of its kind reported in Canada, and one of fewer than 20 cases reported worldwide, said the researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton who examined Dore.

In these types of foreign accent cases, individual brain changes can lead to speech disparities, the researchers explained.

"It's not necessarily a 'generic foreign accent' that results. Instead, the specific phonological changes that occur may be unique to each individual, reflecting differences in damage within the motor speech network," the researchers wrote. "These changes can give rise to specific-sounding accents, including ones like a regional dialect change, rather than a complete foreign accent."

The case study appears in the July issue of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. – (HealthDay News)

July 2008

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