A woman in Australia who suddenly acquired an Irish accent after undergoing tonsil surgery last year said pronouncing words remains a challenge for her to this day.
Angie Yen, 29, made headlines in April 2021 after her tonsil procedure resulted in her developing foreign accent syndrome. It is a very rare speech disorder that can cause a rapid change in one’s manner of speaking so that a native speaker sounds as if they are speaking with a “foreign” accent.
Yen claimed that although she has never set foot in Ireland, she started speaking with an Irish accent nine days after having her tonsils removed.
She told 7Life that she experienced stuttering, jumbling up words and missing syllables when speaking.
“For example — a word I still struggle to say is ‘exclusively,’” she explained. “I would somehow say ‘elusively,’ but knowing that I meant exclusively.”
After learning about a British woman who woke up to find that she had developed an “Asian-sounding” accent, Yen sought answers from a private hospital but was sent back home.
“I was dismissed, laughed at, mocked but got no answers as to why I sounded like this. It was so crazy and bizarre,” Yen told 7Life.
Yen eventually learned to accept that the accent “wasn’t going to go away anytime soon.”
While she still doesn’t know the severity of her condition, she continues to post updates on TikTok.
Yen recently revealed that her accent “hasn’t completely reverted back” to Australian a year after she first documented her speech disorder in a now-viral TikTok video.
“I still have a light American and Northern Irish lilt,” she was quoted as saying. “It gets thicker when I’m stressed, tired or run down.”
Yen, a dentist by profession, said she still struggles with pronouncing words when talking to her clients, who are now unable to decipher what she is saying.
“I still sound different and some days with a thicker accent,” Yen explained. “The speech issues were temporary struggles that got better with time but the long-term challenge is accepting my new accent, voice and identity.”