Foreign Accent Syndromes: The stories people have to tell
What does it feel like to wake up speaking with a foreign accent from a country you’ve never visited?
In what can be a rare but mortifying turn of events sufferers can find the condition known as “Foreign Accent Syndrome” hugely devastating.
There have been highly publicised examples in the news, for example 49-year-old Kay Russell from Gloucestershire was horrified to hear her English accent be replaced with French. And 35-year-old Sarah Colwill from Devon started speaking with a Chinese accent after suffering migraine like symptoms.
Nick Miller, co-author of Foreign Accent Syndromes, explains that FAS can arise for a host of reasons in different people, ranging from uniquely neurological to psychological, or some mixture of the two. "The accent varies from ear to ear. Two people could hear the same accent and one would say it was Jamaican and the other east European. But this is just one of so many deeply challenging and interesting aspects of FAS.”
Ryalls and Miller’s new book seeks to portray the broad and diverse experiences of patients with a rare neurological speech disorder called Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS). A unique insight into the condition is offered through personal testimony and accounts from family members. Through a combination of these personal testimonies and scientific commentary the book sheds unprecedented light on the inner workings of the mind and the manner in which speech is represented in the brain.
“I find this little gem of a book to be stimulating, accurate and heart-rending... No audience is excluded. This is a solid-gold contribution to the literature on FAS, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. It is hugely accessible to a lay readership and will stimulate and inform health professionals as well.” – Professor Jennifer Gurd, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford
The authors are two leading global experts on FAS, and this is the first volume of its kind to provide such a broad and comprehensive examination of this rare and poorly understood condition. “Foreign Accent Syndromes is the first comprehensive and yet accessible guide to this intriguing phenomenon” says Yves Joanette, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montréal, Canada
Jack Ryalls is Professor at the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Florida, USA. In addition to FAS, his research areas also include aphasia, normal aging, right hemisphere brain damage, Parkinsonism, Friedreich’s ataxia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nick Miller is Professor of Motor Speech Disorders at the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, UK. His teaching and clinical practice has covered all aspects of motor speech disorders as well as areas of neuropsychology, aphasia, and rehabilitation in neurological disorders. His main focus in research has been on speech, voice, and swallowing changes in Parkinson’s and after stroke, with involvement with FAS arising out of the latter.
Foreign Accent Syndromes
The stories people have to tell
By Jack Ryalls and Nick Miller
Published 19th August 2014
Pb: 978-1-84872-153-1: £28.99
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