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Australian crash victim develops French accent

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 01:19

June 18 - Australian Leanne Rowe suffered a head injury in a car crash eight years ago, leaving her with a rare case of Foreign Accent Syndrome and an unwelcome French accent. Miriam Berger reports.

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Leanne Rowe, a born and bred Tasmanian, used to speak like most other Australians. But eight years ago a bus crash forever changed her life - leaving her with a French accent. The rare condition is known as Foreign Accent Syndrome - and Rowe says that it has made her feel anxious, depressed and reclusive. (SOUNDBITE)(English) FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME SUFFERER, LEANNE ROWE SAYING: "I prefer night time because its very peaceful. Not many people about." University of Sydney psychologist, Dr Karen Croot, says the syndrome is caused by tissue damage to area of the brain responsible for speech. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PSYCHOLOGIST, DR KAREN CROOT SAYING: "It's just an accident, an accident of chance that happens to that person. That what happens to their speech, happens to overlap with the features of a known accent." Dr Robert Newton has been the Rowe family doctor for decades and was shocked by her condition. (SOUNDBITE)(English) LEANNE ROWE'S DOCTOR, ROBERT NEWTON SAYING: "She turned up after having a nasty head injury eight years ago with a French accent. I couldn't believe my ears." But the rarity of her situation does not comfort Rowe, who is still awaiting a formal diagnosis. (SOUNDBITE)(English) FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME SUFFERER, LEANNE ROWE SAYING: "It makes me so angry because I am Australian. I am not French." There have been only 62 cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome recorded globally in the last 70 years, including two Australians.

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Australian crash victim develops French accent

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 01:19

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