This American Woman Woke Up From Surgery with an Irish Accent

Illustration for article titled This American Woman Woke Up From Surgery with an Irish Accent

Karen Butler, a 56-year-old woman, is American. She was born in Oregon, lives in Oregon but for some reason, after having oral surgery 18 months ago, she developed an Irish accent. I'm not even kidding.


The accent is actually a blend of Irish with British, sometimes Scottish and a bit of everything else but American. She hasn't gone through enough neurological exams to fully diagnose her but doctors suspect that she's suffering from a rare case of Foreign Accent Syndrome. If that sounds like something straight from The Onion, I'm with you, but doctors say it's extremely rare (affects maybe 100 people worldwide) and is usually brought on from some type of brain injury.

It's been 18 months with her new Irish accent and she looks like she's taking it in stride, though she said she can't even fake an American accent. Just watch the video of her Today interview. Amazing. [MSNBC]

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Liam McGlynn

British accent?

You'll find there is and accent for us English, one for the Scottish, one for the Welsh and one for the Irish. Britain is four countries. Why do people find that so hard to understand?