British woman gets fobby Chinese accent from migraine

Who knew migraines could lead to a fob accent? A British woman apparently succumbed to a rare disease known as the Foreign Accent Syndrome after a particularly bad migraine. According to the AFP, FAS reportedly caused “brain damage” in Sarah Colwill, 35, which took away her West Country drawl and left her speaking like a Chinese. The woman has never been to China before. Colwill says the accent is “getting her down” and that she is starting to find it annoying.

Colwill says:

“I moved to Plymouth when I was 18 months old so I have always spoken like a local. But following one attack, an ambulance crew arrived and they said I definitely sounded Chinese.”

Ok, I just watched the video of Colwill and I have concluded that it is very poor Chinese accent. They should rename the condition to Bad Foreign Accent Syndrome. If you want to know what a REAL fob accent sounds like, check out this Korean dude singing Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.”


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  • Emily,
    Real foreign accents are not actually caused by brain damage 🙂

    So called “foreign accent syndrome” happens when the parts of the brain responsible for pronunciation are affected. It’s called “foreign accent syndrome” because people *perceive* that the victim’s accent is no longer native. So because this is brain damage and not, say, and actual attempt at talking like ESL Chinese people, I vote we cut her some slack.

    I’ve heard that a friend from high school had a pretty scary brain condition, and my friends from back home say that she now speaks with some kind of British accent. Now that I know actual British folk, I can tell you it’s not an actual British accent… i.e., it wouldn’t fool British folks… but the *perception* seems to be that her new aphasic speech resembles something British.

    What it shows is that there are parts of the brain that control pronunciation systematically, which is very interesting if you’re a neurologist, a speech pathologist, or a linguist…. it’s not just your mouth.

    As for Korean “tuts ma barreh” I always assumed the dude was still in Korea. Do you calledthat FOB too? I always thought that the B in FOB meant that people sailed to the US in a boat. Anyway, somebody give that dude water dessert….

  • Nice. I love how she says it’s “starting to annoy her,” like it’s a Pauly Shore movie. At first it was charming, but now it’s just overdone.

    Also, how will that woman ever order Chinese food again without getting punched in the face by the person working there because they think she is mocking them (even if they themselves do not have an accent)? 🙂