Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foreign Accent Syndrome

Foreign accent syndrome is a rare medical condition involving speech production that usually occurs as a side effect of severe brain injury, such as a stroke or head trauma. Those suffering from the condition pronounce their native language with an accent that to listeners may be mistaken as foreign or dialectical. 

One case has been reported of an individual with the condition due to a severe migraine, and 2 cases have been related to a developmental problem...

...make that 3. 

I think once Miles hit 2 1/2, one night his brain got off of a stop on the MTA New York City transit line, and he's never been the same since. And we all know that NYC is a different country.

Miles has a foreign accent, and while I cannot pin it exactly, I think the origins are from NYC. I am no Dialectologist, though.

It is NOT a southern drawl, NOT a Boston/New England accent from my shallow end of the gene pool, and NOT a midwestern accent from Eric's deeper end of his gene pool. 

But it certainly has to do with how he pronounces the letter "r."

I first heard about this certifiably real condition on the news a few years ago, and then heard about it again on NPR this year. 

Miles's biggest offenders:

"Mo-Wah" (More)
"Ca-Wah" (Car)
"Pahk" (Park)
"Sam-ich" (not an accent thing, but I love how he says it)
"Cloh-ahk" (Clock)

And then there are just words we love hearing him say, like "slippery" and "shower", which comes out more like "chowder."

I'm glad we have the fip video to document his voice, because I have a sense that over the next year, it will change. And you'll see Felix is in the background trying to "cheers" with Miles since he will take any opportunity to ram his spoons, glasses, or food into someone else's and scream CHEERS!

(Dark portion of the video is the 2 of us cuddling before bedtime under his "Twighlight" turtle stars, and me badgering him to say cute words.)


  1. Very cute. I must say that that particular "accent" is unique to a number young children. I can think of several children I've known who have expressed that New York-ish accent at about Miles' age, and it's so endearing! It's great that you have it on record because it will be fleeting, and you will miss it when one day you realize he's just talking like a regular person! Now the question will be if he develops a southern accent...

  2. I think it is those Yankees who take care of him at the ELC. :) I have been teasing J. about this for some time. If T. whose parents both have a strong southern accent sounds like he is the least bit from the north, we are going to have some problems. :)