They say that you can tell a lot about a person by their accent.
But for some, they go to sleep with one accent and wake up with another.
This is what happens to someone who has a rare medical condition known as Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) – a condition that changes the way people talk.
It only affects about 100 people worldwide, but the differences are almost too bizarre to believe.
Now MailOnline has collected six fascinating stories of people who were robbed of their homeland singing overnight.
She enlists help to find an expert or neurologist who can help her cope with the sudden change
Zoe Coles, who lives in Lincolnshire, lost her northern accent six weeks ago and now fears she’s ‘stuck’ with a distinctive Welsh accent.
The pub worker, who originally developed a German accent before changing to Welsh, has taken to TikTok to document her struggles to access medical help for FAS.
Ms Coles, who was diagnosed last year with a functional neurological disorder (FND) affecting motor control and speech, has never been to Wales.
She says she can’t go to work and is afraid that “something has gone wrong in my head.”
In videos shared on her TikTok account @zoecoles1, she revealed that FND gives her chronic pain and sometimes makes it impossible to talk and walk.
But this latest development has left her even more frustrated, saying in a video, “I just got this accent and it’s not going away, I think it’s stuck.” I hoped it would just be an outlier and that I would get over it.”
It is well known that FAS is an ‘unusual consequence’ of structural neurological damage, but some research suggests that it may be a sign of FND.
Ms Coles claims she hasn’t gotten a referral to see a specialist so she’s taken to social media begging for an expert to help her.
An Essex woman who was mute for two months after a mysterious brain injury woke up one day speaking in four different European accents.
Ms Egan, 33, lost the ability to speak in 2020, forcing her to rely on an app that read her texts in a computer voice for two months before regaining her voice.
Emily Egan’s extremely rare condition has left her body shut down, leaving her exhausted
When she regained her voice two months later, Ms. Egan continued to sound intermittently French, Polish, Russian and Italian.
Doctors thought she had suffered a stroke, but later ruled it out and concluded she suffered from some form of brain damage.
Ms. Egan said the accents change depending on how tired she is.
“This whole experience was exhausting and totally overwhelming,” she added.
“It’s not just my accent that’s changed — I don’t speak or think the way I used to, and I can’t make sentences like I used to.”
A mother of two who took pride in her Staffordshire accent was shocked to wake up sounding Italian.
Kath Locket went to bed as normal one night in 2006, but was later rushed to hospital, unable to speak or swallow.
Baffled at first, doctors diagnosed her with a rare brain condition called severe cerebral vasculitis — damage to a part of the brain that controls language.
When she regained her voice, she noticed that her accent had changed.
Despite being born and raised in Staffordshire, she was left with a strong Italian accent.
Kath Locket went to bed as normal one night in 2006, but was later rushed to hospital unable to speak or swallow
Ms Lockett said she no longer sounded like her family and friends – and locals assume she’s not from the West Midlands.
In an interview with ITV, she said: ‘I started out with a lisp and was a little worried.
‘Because of my poor health I was getting overtired, so I thought it was that and went to bed.
“But when I woke up, it was still there and this lisping was starting to get a little strange.
“On Tuesday I was fine and went to work. At that point I could talk.
“By Wednesday morning, things were starting to feel strange.
“And by Thursday it was completely gone and I lost my swallow too.”
An American woman woke up with a ‘posh’ English accent after a head injury during a burglary.
Ashley Bosma, 33, of Hollywood, Florida, was left unconscious after an intruder broke into her home and reportedly hit her on the head in October 2017.
Ashley Bosma, 33, of Hollywood, Florida, was left unconscious after an intruder broke into her home and allegedly hit her on the head in October 2017
After being treated at the hospital, she returned to her normal life, but suffered from memory problems and brain fog.
A month later, her thick American accent was gone and instead she started talking with an English, Australian or South African touch.
The mother of one child said: ‘I’ve never been to the UK or even close so it’s a real mystery how this happened.
‘I was a fan of Harry Potter when I was young, but otherwise I had nothing to do with Britain. If anything, I was more impressed with the French accent when I was growing up.
‘The only exposure I’ve had was a former work colleague who was British and I liked his accent, but I haven’t spoken to him in about three years.
“My friends and family think it’s really funny. They quote lines from Monty Python and even Mrs. Doubt fire at me and end conversations with ‘Cheerio’ or other British mannerisms.’
A former Arizona beauty queen sounded “like a Spice Girl” after waking up with an English accent.
Michelle Myers, 50, of Phoenix, suffered from “splitting headaches” for four years before she lost vision in her right eye one night in 2015 and struggled to speak.
She was rushed to hospital during the night and woke up with an English accent.
Michelle Myers, 50, of Phoenix, suffered from “splitting headaches” for four years before she lost sight in her right eye one night in 2015 and struggled to speak
The single mother of seven was diagnosed with FAS and had no idea why it happened.
She said, “I felt like I lost someone. I named my son Tyler, but I pronounce his name very differently now.
“I’m an author and public speaker, so when my voice changed, I lost the person doing all those things.
“I was Miss Black Austin, Texas when I was younger, but I feel like I’m not that person anymore.
“I fell into a deep depression about that when this first happened and for about three or four months I would only leave my house to go to the doctor.”
Ms. Myers has now come to terms with sounding English and realizes that only her voice has changed, not her personality or performance.
Foreign Accent Syndrome: What Do We Know?
Foreign accent syndrome is a rare condition in which the patient speaks with a different accent than their natural speaking style.
It is usually the result of head or brain injury, with strokes being the most common cause.
FAS can also develop after trauma to the brain, bleeding in the brain, or a brain tumor. Other causes have also been reported, including multiple sclerosis and conversion disorder.
It has been recorded only 150 times worldwide since its discovery in 1907.
FAS has been documented in cases around the world, including accent changes from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, and Spanish to Hungarian.
It causes patients to pronounce vowels in different ways, move their tongue and jaw differently when speaking to produce a different sound, and even replace words with others they don’t normally use.
In some cases, no clear cause has been found.
Foreign accent syndrome can last for months or years, or even be permanent.