Debbie McCann, 48, had never visited Italy and had a strong Glaswegian accent before suffering a stroke that would forever changed the way she spoke. For the first few weeks after the incident, she had completely lost the ability to speak, and as it came back, it was coming back in an Italian voice that she had never heard and didn’t recognize.
‘For the first two weeks, I couldn’t speak and it was very frustrating,’ said Ms McCann.
‘When my voice came back, I sounded Chinese. I couldn’t believe it.
‘Now, people say I sound more like I’m from Italy, yet, I’ve never been to either of those countries.’
After friends suspected something may be going on and watching videos online she was diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome in June. ‘Foreign Accent Syndrome is an extremely rare medical condition that affects just 60 people worldwide and leaves a person speaking in a different accent due to a brain injury, stroke or migraine.‘ I had never heard of such a disorder and think it would probably be one of the most amazing conditions to have. Usually people have to study and practice for quite some time to be able to speak in accents, but this bitch just had to have a stroke. Unfortunately, she feels much differently.
‘I’m having speech therapy and every day I wake up hoping my old voice will be back’, she said.
‘We laughed about it in the beginning but it’s become a nightmare for me.’
She said it’s only now she feels brave enough to go out on her own.
The grandmother-of-two added: ‘It’s made me very embarrassed to speak to people. I only go shopping where I used to work because everyone knows me there.
‘Otherwise I’m constantly having to explain myself.
‘I don’t like speaking on the phone. When I called the Job Centre to apply for disability allowance, the lady asked me where I was from.
‘I said Glasgow and she said: ‘No, where are you from originally?’ I had to explain to her I had Foreign Accent Syndrome.