Skip to main content

Tasmanian Woman Leanne Rowe Develops French Accent Following Accident

After being involved in a serious accident, a Tasmanian woman was left speaking with what sounds like a French accent.

Leanne Rowe contracted Foreign Accent Syndrome after waking up with a broken back and jaw in Melbourne's Austin Hospital following a car crash, and the condition has started to make her feel anxious and depressed.

"Slowly, as my jaw started to heal, they said that I was slurring my words because I was on very powerful tablets," Rowe said.

Rowe was a bus driver and member of the Army Reserves before the crash, but now she does not really do much and describes herself as a recluse.

"It makes me so angry because I am Australian," she said. "I am not French, [though] I do not have anything against the French people."

Kate Mundy, Rowe's daughter, now finds herself speaking for her mother in public situations.

"I guess we made a bit of fun of it as well, but in hindsight, it's been really hard for her," she said. "It has affected her life greatly. People see the funny side of it and think it’s really interesting, I mean, it is interesting but I've seen the impacts on mom's life."

Family doctor Robert Newton said Rowe is one of two Australians with the syndrome, reported.

"She had a normal, if you like, Australian accent for the whole time I knew her before that," he said. "She'd done French at school but she'd never been to France, didn't have any French friends at all.”

The University of Sydney's Karen Croot has done research about Foreign Accent Syndrome.

“It’s all about the positioning of the speech articulators and about the tension," Croot said. "When we talk normally those things are controlled by a network of centers in the brain, and it's incredibly precise. The person is still able to coordinate very clearly what it is that they want to say, it's just like it has been tweaked differently.”

Sources:, Sydney Morning Herald


Popular Video