Published January 10, 2014
Two months after a 2008 horseback riding accident left her with a concussion, Sharon Campbell-Rayment, of Canada, developed a strange accent, the National Post reported.
But it wasn’t until a recent trip to Scotland, where her daughter had begun attending school, that Campbell-Rayment discovered that her new accent was native to the Scottish Highlands.
Though Campbell-Rayment has Scottish ancestors, she’d never before visited the country or met any relatives who spoke with the same Scottish accent she developed after her accident.
According to the National Post, Campbell-Rayment has a rare neurological condition called foreign accent syndrome (FAS), which can cause victims of concussions, migraines or strokes to unconsciously adopt a foreign accent. Only a few hundred people in the world are known to have the condition.
Experts aren’t entirely sure what causes the condition or why people with FAS develop certain accents.
“Where you come from [and] what other languages you speak have nothing to do with the accent you seem to develop,” Nicholas Miller, a researcher at Newcastle University in Britain, told the National Post.
Campbell-Rayment’s fall caused her to lose her speech entirely for 10 days, but with the help of speech therapy she eventually regained her voice. She said doctors believe her concussion affected her brain’s left frontal lobe, which controls speech.
She told the National Post that after visiting Scotland, she felt a special kinship with the country.
“I felt really and awfully like I’d returned home,” Campbell-Rayment said.