English woman who suddenly woke up with a Welsh accent appeals for medical help

14 July 2023, 09:30

Ms Coles woke up with a totally new accent
Ms Coles woke up with a totally new accent. Picture: TikTok

By Will Taylor

An English woman who woke up with a Welsh accent is desperately seeking help for her bizarre condition that has left her speaking in a new voice for weeks.

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Zoe Coles says her accent changed to German and then Welsh about six weeks ago.

She has chronicled the strange shift on TikTok, posting clips of her pleading for help finding a neurologist that can treat what she thinks is Foreign Accent Syndrome.

The Lincolnshire resident, who was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder last year, has never been to Wales but has developed a sound close to typical accent from there mixed with Scouse.

Speaking in one of her first videos after the change, six days after she began talking with it, she told her followers on TikTok: "I woke up with this accent. It's called Foreign Accent Syndrome, I believe. Right now, I'm not sure when it's going to go.

"I don't know anything about it, I'm about to do some research but I'm just raising awareness.

"Literally, I opened my eyes, opened my mouth, and I'm Welsh. Never in my life have I been able to do an accent and here I am, rocking it."

On day 10, she said her voice was "very different to how I normally speak".

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She said she was hoping to get an EEG (electroencephalogram) to examine her brain activity. Past footage shows her slurring her words and struggling with motor function as a result of FND.

In a later video, she said she had been told she sounded Welsh, Scouse and Irish.

"I've just got this accent and it won't go away. I think it's stuck," she told viewers in an update.

"I hope that it would be a blip and I would get over it but it's been nearly five weeks.

"We've all forgotten what I usually sound like, I don't know what my old voice was like.

"I've just adapted, I've had to. What else can I do other than just get on with it and adapt?

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"I've been referred to a specialist but that can take up to a year, so I'm just going to carry on, but I don't feel like I fit in anywhere because everywhere I got, when I talk, people look at me.

"I like it, I don't mind the accent, but other people make me feel awkward."

Ms Coles said she had struggled to see a specialist for her condition in London but was not able to see him because she is outside the catchment area.

"I want help, I cannot physically wake up with a Welsh accent and just be left like it. It's not normal," she said.

Exasperated, Ms Coles has turned to social media in the hope that an expert will see her plight and take her case on.

"I there any neurologist out there that wants to work with me? Are there any neurologists who want to work out what's going on up here in my brain?" she asked.

"I've got Functional Neurological Disorder, I've got video diaries of everything from the last year and a half. And I've woke up Welsh six weeks ago.

"Something isn't right up there and I want you to figure out what's going on, please. I'm not the only person that's suffering, there's many people suffering."

A paper on the BMJ Journals website says Foreign Accent Syndrome is a "rare disorder where the affected person speaks in an accent that the listener perceives as foreign".

It says it can be preceded by "motor disturbances".