UK woman left speaking Jamaican, other accents due to rare condition

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(Jamaica Observer) A woman born and bred in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom has been left speaking in Jamaican, Scouse, Geordie and Australian accents because of a rare condition.

According to reports from British newspaper, The Sun, Terri White has an unusual form of foreign accent syndrome, meaning her accent can change at any moment.

Terri White (Photo: The Sun)

She has however learnt to live with her condition, which often leaves people in disbelief, the newspaper said in a recent article.

Despite living in the UK her entire life, White cannot tell what accent she will speak next. The Sun reported that she is just one of 60 people worldwide thought to have the condition.

The 48-year-old, who has lived with the condition for 10 years, told British media that she has come to terms with it — with the unexpected accents often making her laugh.

In sharing her story with The Sun, White said: “In the beginning I was upset because I thought, ‘How long’s it going to last? What will people think of me?’ But I’ve learnt to live with it now. It’s part of me. If people have a problem with it then it’s their problem and not mine.”

White, who is from Bransholme in Hull, East Yorks, described her first episode in 2006, saying: “The first thing that happened, I was eating something and my jaw just clicked.

“I thought nothing of it but the next day I just couldn’t speak properly. I went to hospital and my jaw was X-rayed but they found nothing wrong. So I went back to work, and then suddenly I started speaking Liverpudlian.

“I was talking Liverpudlian all afternoon.

“I rang my youngest daughter Alicia from work because she loves the Liverpool accent.

But she said, “You’re not my mum,” and she put the phone down on me. She didn’t recognise me. I was flabbergasted.”

The accent disappeared after a couple of hours but others soon began to surface, with it suspected that she suffered a stroke.

White, who says strangers often did not take her seriously when she said she was from Hull, even spent a month in hospital as doctors searched for answers, The Sun reported.

Doctors eventually diagnosed her with foreign accent syndrome, which is believed to be brought on by stress or silent migraines.

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