Medical research reveals that people need not live abroad for a long period of time in order to speak with an accent. Doctors discovered “a foreign accent syndrome” with patients who suffered a heart attack or some other serious injury. It was believed for a rather long period that these accents ere caused by mental changes; however, recently, doctors that such accents are of an organic nature.
Doctor Jennifier Gurd and phonetician John Coleman from the University of Oxford conducted unusual research and discovered common characteristics among patients suffering from heart attacks: small injuries were found in certain parts of the brain.
The scientists say that the changes might be responsible for slightly perceptible voice characteristics such as length of syllables, pitch changes, or mispronounced sounds. Although the problem is often settled by itself, it can become a real tragedy for a patient to realize that he can’t speak as he did before the heart attack.
Doctor Gurd says, “Patients feel better if they know about the reasons for the unusual state they are experiencing, and some are even ready to help scientists understand the brain's characteristics and its role in forming accents. Doctor Coleman adds, “It is highly likely that your condition will improve with time and you will regain your healthy life.”
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969