Published June 17, 2013
After a serious car accident, an Australian woman has fully recovered from her injuries, except for one very bizarre side effect: She now speaks with a French accent.
Leann Rowe’s ordeal began eight years ago, when she woke up in Melbourne’s Austin Hospital after her accident with a broken back and jaw.
As her jaw began to heal, Rowe regained her ability to speak, but she noticed that she was slurring her words. Eventually the slurring transformed into a French accent – which has yet to leave.
Rowe said she has never been to France and doesn’t have any French friends – though she did study French in school.
Rowe suffers from an extremely rare condition known as Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS), which causes people to develop an accent different from their native way of speaking, the Herald Sun reported. Between 1941 and 2012, there have only been 62 recorded cases of FAS worldwide. The condition occurs when certain tissues in the brain associated with speech are damaged.
While her new ability may seem exciting to some, Rowe said the condition has made her feel depressed and anxious.