By MAMAMIA TEAM
If you met Australian woman Leanne Rowe at a dinner party, you might come to the conclusion she’d spent most of her life living in France. But Leanne has never spent time in France.
She’s never eaten a croissant in Lyon, never slurped red wine in Nice or seen the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Leanne studied French at high school but has never had any French friends, or lived abroad. And that’s why it’s hard for her to explain to everyone she comes into contact with, why it is that she speaks with a French accent.
Eight years ago, Leanne was involved in a serious car accident. When she woke up at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital she had a broken back and a broken jaw. She also had a French accent.
“Slowly, as my jaw started to heal, they said that I was slurring my words because I was on very powerful tablets,” Leanne told the ABC in an interview last week.
But it soon became clear that that wasn’t the case.
Leanne suffers from Foreign Accent Syndrome. There have only been 62 cases of the syndrome reported since 1941, making it one of the rarest conditions in the world.
The other cases of the syndrome are just as baffling.
In 1999, American woman Tiffany Roberts woke up from a stroke with an English accent. Tiffancy says that people accuse her of lying when she says she was born in Indiana.
In 2009, 18-year-old British man George Harris suffered a brain hemorrhage while traveling in Slovakia and woke up with a thick Russian accent. George had lived in Russia for a period of time when he was young but said he had always sounded British when he was growing up.