With all apologies to Lisa Alamia, I wish this would happen to more U.S. actors and actresses. Ms. Alamia went in for a routine surgery to fix a serious overbite and woke up British. Well, at least in her speech.
A shame this couldn’t happen to more actors and actresses
I likely have more English friends in Guatemala than friends from the States, and as a result I cringe as much as they do when I hear certain American actors try to adopt an English accent for their role. While there are a few have pulled it off, it’s a really short list and I’m happy to be told I’m wrong in the comment section, but at the end of the day English actors are either just better or don’t have a problem with putting on an American accent.
At the risk of insult, Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) at home has a ridiculously posh accent thanks to an Oxford, England upbringing. Nicholas Brody from “Homeland” or hedge fund tycoon Bobby Axelrod from “Billions” is played by the very English Damian Lewis. Hell, I could go on and on but let’s get back to Ms. Alamia.
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Upon waking up at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital following jaw surgery, Ms. Alamia woke up with little swelling from the procedure but, rather, a pronounced British accent.
The 33-year old woman from Houston of Hispanic heritage had never visited the UK, didn’t stream the BBC on Netflix, but here she was British (if you simply heard her on the phone).
“My daughter laughs at the way I say ‘tamales.’ I used to be able to say it like a real Hispanic girl,” Alamia told KHOU. “Now, I cannot.”
If she learns to add, “Now I can’t be asked” she could apparently fool a Brit though they might struggle to place her accent to a region.
According to the hospital (and patient), Ms. Alamia’s surgeon said the change was “just a psychical result of the surgery and that it would go away as I healed.”
Yeah, it didn’t. It continued well beyond the swelling’s existence and saw her visit Dr. Toby Yaltho, a neurologist at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates where she was diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome, or FAS.
The hell you say
FAS was first described by the French neurologist, Pierre Marie, over a century ago in 1907 though since then fewer than 100 cases have been diagnosed and the majority of those diagnosis came from patients whom suffered strokes. That’s less than a case a year if you haven’t already done the math or for Ms. Alamia to be convincing, “maths.”
“This is a fascinating and very rare case,” Yaltho said in a release. “Most neurologists work their entire careers and never come across FAS.”
What’s perhaps the most bizarre aspect of FAS is that the patient needn’t have any exposure to the dialect prior to the change.
And again, no stroke.
“Everything came back normal,” Yaltho said in a release. “There was no evidence of stroke or other abnormalities.”
Ms. Alamis, genuinely sounds British and struggles in Houston.
“Mom” comes out as “mum.” And “kidding” sounds like “kitten,” she told KHOU.
“I didn’t know the reaction I was going to get from people,” Alamia continued in the same interview. “So I didn’t know if they’re going to judge me. Are they going to think I’m lying or even understand how I’m speaking?”
“The human brain is a complex organ, and we don’t know if we will ever be able to completely understand what causes FAS,” Yaltho said.
It’s equally complex to wrap your head around a Hispanic woman in Houston speaking like she’s from Yorkshire.