ROCKVILLE, Md. (CN) – A woman says she suffers from Foreign Accent Syndrome because of a fall she took at a 4-H youth conference. Foreign Accent Syndrome is a rare condition occurring in stroke victims that affects speech by altering “rhythm and melody, suggesting a foreign accent,” according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Robin Vanderlip seeks $1 million in damages from the National 4-H Council, in Montgomery County Court.
She claims that a “heal scuff” [sic: presumably “heel”] coupled with a “dysfunctional handrail” in a stairwell at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center caused her to fall and strike her head. She says she was rushed to a hospital for treatment, and two days later, after she was discharged, she woke up unable to speak.
Vanderlip says the blow to her head caused a stroke, which caused her Foreign Accent Syndrome, from which she still suffers, along with memory problems and fatigue.
Vanderlip’s complaint does not indicate what sort of accent she developed. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association reports that the syndrome can affect American English speakers’ pronunciation of vowels so that they sound Swedish.
“Reported accent changes include Japanese to Korean, British-English to French, American-English to British-English, and even Spanish to Hungarian,” according to ASHA Web site.
Vanderlip is represented by Christopher Nace with Paulson Nace of Washington, D.C.