Over the next few days, the swelling subsided and the pain vanished, but Butler’s newly acquired accent did not. Though it has softened over time, she’s never again spoken like a native Oregonian from Madras. To most people, she sounds British.
It took months to find an explanation: foreign accent syndrome, a disorder so rare that only about 60 cases have been documented worldwide since the early 1900s.
Foreign accent syndrome is usually caused by a stroke, though it also has been associated with multiple sclerosis, head injuries and migraines.