THE WORLDPOST
06/17/2013 02:41 pm ET

Car Crash Victim Develops French Accent After Suffering Head Injury In Australia (VIDEO)

For the past eight years Leanne Rowe has spoken with a French accent. However, aside from studying French in school, the Australian woman does not speak French.

Rowe developed the French accent after a car crash, during which she suffered a broken back and jaw, the Agence France-Presse reports. Rowe's doctor believes it's a symptom of a rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Though her accident took place nearly a decade ago, Rowe is only now speaking out about the struggle of living with the condition.

"It makes me so angry because I am Australian," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "I am not French, [though] I do not have anything against the French people."

After her accident, Rowe woke up in the hospital. Doctors initially told her she was slurring her words because of medicine she had been given, but the slurs turned into an accent that sounded distinctively French.

Foreign Accent Syndrome is rather uncommon -- there have only been about 100 cases since the speech disorder was first reported in the 1940s -- but it does crop up from time to time in cases of severe brain damage. In 2012, a 40-year-old British woman also developed a French accent after she suffered a seizure as a result of the flu.

The syndrome has also spurred people to speak in accents characteristic of other languages. Another British woman, Sarah Colwill, developed a Chinese accent after she experienced extreme migraines.

However, those with the syndrome, who mimic a particular accent, may actually sound less like native speakers and more "like non-natives producing another culture’s take on a given language," according to Discovery News.

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