A Texan woman has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder that has suddenly caused her to speak with a British accent.
Mother of three, Lisa Alamia, says she is 100 percent American from Rosenberg, Texas, KHOU reports.
"People who don’t know me, they’re like, 'Hey, where are you from?'" Alamia said. "'I’m from Rosenberg.' They’re like, 'Where is that?' I’m like, 'Right here in Rosenberg.' 'Oh, you’re from here? How do you talk like that?' So that’s where the whole story comes up.”
Alamia has foreign accent syndrome, a condition that has affected fewer than 100 people in the past century.
“I thought she was joking with me,” said Kayla Alamia, her oldest daughter. “But then she showed me that the doctor diagnosed her with foreign accent syndrome. Then I was like, 'Oh, Lord.'”
Alamia explains the British accent kicked in after she underwent a jaw surgery, Sky News reports. Her neurologist, Dr. Toby Yalto, says he is still uncertain what exactly caused the change.
“'Mum' is probably the one word I notice right away,” Alamia said. “'Kitten' [is another]. They think I’m talking about a baby cat. I’m not. I’m saying, 'I’m just kidding.'”
Alamia said at first she struggled with the changes in her accent, fearing what people would think.
“I didn’t know the reaction I was going to get from people,” she said. “So I didn’t know if they’re going to judge me. Are they going to think I’m lying or even understand how I’m speaking?”
With the support of family and friends, she is now open about her condition. She is also learning to enjoy the privileges that come with it.
Her new accent, she explains, doesn’t intimidate her children anymore.
“They’re like now there’s no way you sound ‘hood at all,” Alamia said. “Even if you tried, you wouldn’t be able to sound that way. My daughter laughs at the way I say 'tamales.' I used to be able to say it like a real Hispanic girl. Now, I cannot.”