LabexEFL lecture series: Jo Verhoeven

Jo Verhoeven (UCL)
31 May 2024, 14h0016h00

Lecture 3: May 31: 2 to 4 pm.

Foreign Accent Syndrome as a motor speech disorder.

Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) has been regarded as a speech production disorder defined in perceptual terms: the articulation of individuals changes suddenly as a result of e.g. damage to the central nervous system and their speech is recognised as foreign accented by speakers of the same speech community as the FAS patient. The first patient with FAS was reported in 1907 by the French neurologist Pierre Marie, who described a patient whose original Parisian French accent had changed into an Alsatian accent after a stroke affecting the left hemisphere of the brain. Since then approximately 150 patients with this syndrome have been reported in the scientific literature.

This lecture will discuss the history of Foreign Accent Syndrome and illustrates the different taxonomical subtypes that have been distinguished. It will furthermore explore some of the salient neurological aspects of the different types. It will generally be argued that FAS arises as a misinterpretation by listeners of markers of ‘state’ as ‘speech community’ markers.

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