Native Australian Angela Yen, 27, has never been to Ireland. But after she underwent a tonsillectomy on April 19, she was shocked to discover she was speaking with an Irish accent.
An Australian woman has gone viral on TikTok after posting videos explaining the shocking moment she said she suddenly woke up with an Irish accent.
Angela Yen, who is a dentist and native to Australia, says she had a tonsillectomy on April 19 and, after recovering for 10 days, woke up one day to find she was talking in an Irish accent.
“I had breakfast,” she said, adding that she hadn’t spoken to any of her housemates. “I took a shower and I usually sing when I’m showering and all of a sudden I was talking in an Irish accent.” “I initially thought it was something I was hearing, that it can’t be real. And now I can’t shake it.”
“I’ve never been to Ireland,” Yen repeatedly said in her videos.
Yen has said she’s using her platform to help raise awareness about her accent troubles, but there are still skeptics claiming she is fabricating it.
“Unfortunately, it’s not fake. It’s now day 13 of speaking with a foreign accent,” Yen said in a response video to one skeptical viewer. “I really hope that my Aussie accent is still coming through because it’s what I’ve had for the last twenty years. I definitely agree that my accent is still terrible.”
Yen, who is Australian Taiwanese, gets emotional in some videos, explaining that she feels she has lost her identity. But for the most part, she remains cheerful and determined to use her platform to inform viewers.
She has even met with doctors and experts who have suggested that her vocal cords will heal over time but said they have found no neurological problems.
“They couldn’t provide any answers,” Yen said. “They just told me to sit tight and let the body heal after my tonsil surgery. But at this stage I don’t think it’s going to get better.”
Yen may be experiencing a rare syndrome called Foreign Accent Syndrome, Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki said in his own TikTok video.
Foreign Accent Syndrome was first reported in 1907 by a French neurologist, Pierre Marie, where it was discovered that the syndrome can usually occur after a stroke. It can also develop from head trauma, migraines, seizures, or surgery to the mouth or face, The Irish Times reported.
There are reportedly about 150 cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome documented around the world, Kruszelnicki said.
“It’s not a real accent, but a damaged form of the person’s native language and accent,” he said.
A 56-year-old woman from Oregon was sedated by her dentist to have her teeth pulled in 2011 and started talking with a Transylvanian twang, ABC News reported.
But for now, Yen is continuing to count the days until her accent returns.
“I’m using this platform to raise awareness for foreign accent syndrome,” she said on TikTok. “I hope you learn something about my journey and spread awareness about this.”