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After being seriously injured in a car crash, one woman began speaking with a French accent.

Leanne Rowe grew up and has lived her entire life in the Australian island commonwealth of Tasmania. She thought her new speech patterns were the result of recovering from a broken back and jaw, as well as powerful painkillers. But it became apparent her new speech pattern was permanent. Eight years after the crash, Rowe still suffers from Foreign Accent Syndrome.

"It makes me so angry because I am Australian," Rowe told ABC. "I am not French! I do not have anything against French people."

Foreign Accent Syndrome is a rare condition that alters the speech of the sufferer to sound like an entirely new and unfamiliar accent. There have only been a few dozen cases since the syndrome was first identified in 1907. Rowe is thought to be only the second in Australia. Psychologist Karen Croot is one of the few researchers to focus on the syndrome. Croot told ABC that Rowe is not imitating a French accent, but rather her speech impairment just happens to sound French.

"It's an accident of chance that what happens to their speech happens to overlap with the features of a known accent."

Rowe says the condition has made her anxious and depressed, she often avoids people and has her daughter speak for her in public. She's slowly coming to terms with what may be a lifelong condition.

"I don't try to hold it in anymore" Rowe told ABC.


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  • 48 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      it does not sound like jerard depardue at all
      jrae160
      • 1 Year Ago
      Strange, I've always thought a person had to have a broken jaw to sound Australian.
      Anthony Romeo Jr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      When it all comes down to.. oh, where is my pet poodle.. you've known.
      bystephani
      • 1 Year Ago
      Accents are based on how your jaw moves. It is understandable that after breaking tha jaw that, that one would speak differently.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not only does she now have the French accent, she finds herself often spontaneously surrendering.
      mayabelle1107
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hinduism. Siva, is that you?
      • 1 Year Ago
      She's healthy with family, friends and a job. What a petty thing to be upset about. Would she rather have some kind of life altering medical condition that prevents her from having any kind of "normal" life?! Geeze! Stop complaining and just get on with llife!
      Sue
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pretty bad when they have to recycle news stories on here.
        Lu Ann
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Sue
        They've been recycling plenty on here in the last week or so. Apparently, there are not enough murders-kidnappings-heinous crimes etc. to fill the Pages of the news. Very sad. I'd love to read some feel-good stories of our American public for a change. They must have lots of crime chasers...but no Happy news chasers
      aliosh
      • 1 Year Ago
      She needs to focus on the fact that she is alive and able to speak at all.
      troy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Like many other comments; at least she is alive and healthy. This is not an unkown event. Besides, France is supposed to have a very sexy accent. At least she doesn't sound like the Tasmanian Devil ;) !
      Sportster1
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Of course I'm French, you fool! Why else would I have this outrageous accent?" How odd it must be for that woman to sound like a different person than what she was for so many years......
      • 1 Year Ago
      I freely admit there are some things in life that are unexplainable. This story is one of them. I have never heard of anything like this happening before. Is there an research to look into possible causes? I can understand her confusion in suddenly speaking with another accent without formal education to "learn" the foreign language.
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