Australian Angie Yen has been speaking with a new Irish accent for two weeks in what’s suspected to be a case of foreign accent syndrome.
Yen, aged 27, is originally from Taiwan but has lived in Brisbane, Australia, since she was eight years old, and normally speaks with an Australian accent. But two weeks ago, Yen woke up sounding Irish, despite having never even been to Ireland.
Yen first started speaking with an Irish accent 10 days after she had surgery to remove her tonsils. She went to the hospital the same day but as she wasn’t showing any other signs of illness, Yen was sent home and told to rest.
Still looking for answers, Yen said she will be doing an MRI and a blood test soon and is looking for a neurologist who can help her.
Yen has been documenting her journey with her new accent on TikTok, where she has gained a following of more than 20,000 people. She went viral with a video documenting the second day of speaking with an Irish accent that was viewed nearly two million times.
In the video, Yen says: “I woke up with an Irish accent and I’ve never been to Ireland before. I spent the whole day yesterday freaking out about why this is happening to me and I went to the hospital and I also called my specialist and asked them why this is happening and they couldn’t provide any answers. They just told me to sit tight and let the body heal up after my tonsil surgery last Monday about nine to 10 days ago.
“At this stage, I don’t think it’s going to get better, because this morning I woke up with an Aussie accent and I was so happy. I called one of my best friends and told her that I have my accent back but during that phone call in the space of about five to 10 minutes, my accent was deteriorating and it was changing from an Aussie accent to an Irish one.”
TikTok viewers say she sounds like a mix between Canadian, American, Australian, Jamaican, and British, but the Irish accent seems to be the strongest. She said that she has never been to Ireland.
Yen told news.co.au that she wanted to share her experience on TikTok after seeing the attitude towards people with foreign accent syndrome: “I can 100 percent connect with them and know what they are feeling because I feel so lost because it’s so rare.
“But I hope by using this platform to spread awareness that hopefully one day people know if you wake up with a foreign accent or a weird-sounding accent that you go straight to a hospital, there’s something wrong in your brain that needs to be looked at and it’s not just something funny that you laugh about.”
Foreign accent syndrome most commonly occurs following a head injury, stroke, or some other type of damage to the brain, according to Healthline. The condition is extremely rare, with only around 100 people diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome since the first known case came to light in 1907.
Newsweek has contacted Angie Yen for comment.