Functional foreign accent syndrome

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Abstract

Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare disorder where the affected person speaks in an accent that the listener perceives as foreign. Although most cases have left hemisphere lesions, some may be functional. We describe a case of functional FAS and present a video of her speech. We identify characteristics that help to distinguish functional from structural cases. These include preceding motor disturbances causing the maladaptive speech response, inconsistencies in accent production, the adoption of unusual mannerisms in speech and the speech disturbances being transient and reversible. We conclude that FAS is a complex disorder encompassing both functional and structural causes.

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