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 Post subject: Foreign Language Syndrome
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 3:03 am 
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Foreign Language Syndrome

CDN/ 23APR2005

George Reynolds, an Essex care worker has been diagnosed with a very rare medical condition known as Foreign Language Syndrome.

Before suffering from a mild stroke, he spoke standard Cockney English like the rest of his family. But after recovering his power of speech, George found his voice had changed involuntarily beyond all recognition. He now speaks with an Italian accent... "I have never been to Italy...the family thought I was taking the mickey", he said.

Although Mr. Reynolds is able to move his tongue from side to side, he is unable to move his tongue up or down.

Researchers at Oxford University have found that patients with "foreign accent syndrome" seem to share certain characteristics which might explain the problem.

A small number of them all had tiny areas of damage in various parts of the brain. This might explain the combination of subtle changes to vocal features such as lengthening of syllables, altered pitch or mispronounced sounds which make a patient's pronunciation sound similar to a foreign accent.

Some patients who suffer brain injuries or strokes occasionally lose their ability to talk in their native accent. The problem often clears up but it can be another highly upsetting blow for patients who have to cope with other disabilities.


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 Post subject: Foreign language syndrome
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 11:14 pm 
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Addendum:

As a student of Psycholinguistics in 1971,I remember reading something
that would explain this syndrome further.

" (b) Dysarthria. Under this term we shall discuss all impairments of articulation.Some nurologists prefer to reserve this term for disorders that are symptomatically and etiologically quite distinct from aphasia.All agree that any type of dysarthria may be seen as an isolated symptom and that the manifestations become more distinct the more peripherally the lesion is located.Although aphasia refers essentially to content, dysarthria refers exclusively to manner of production.It is common to see aphasia without dysarthria and even more common to see dysarthria withot aphasia.Dysarthria caused by cortical lesions tends to produce speech reminiscient of someone talking with a hot potato in his mouth.Acoustic contrasts are poorely defined but otherwise the articulatory flow is normal.Lower lesions cause more distinct intrferences with the articulatory process.Alterations of rate are most common.Usually the patient speaks markedly more slowly,although fluently.Measurements on sound-spectograms indicate that the slowing down is due to a decrease in the rate of movement of articulatory organs which is in contrast to slow discourse of a neurologically healthy person. In the latter, slowness is primarily produced by increasing pauses and extending vowels while the rate of movement during transition of speech sounds is statistically no different from that in fast speakers"

Biological Foundations of Language by Eric Lenneberg


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