I went to bed English… and woke up sounding WELSH: Woman’s five-month battle with ‘Foreign Accent Syndrome’

I went to bed English… and woke up sounding WELSH: Woman’s five-month battle with ‘Foreign Accent Syndrome’

  • Zoe Coles from Lincolnshire woke up with a Welsh accent five months ago 
  • She has updated viewers on her daily struggles with foreign accent syndrome

Whether we like our accent or not, most of us are stuck with it for life. 

That is, unless you’re one of the 100 or so people in the world who have been diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS).

These people can wake up one week with an American accent and switch to sounding Scottish the next.

Zoe Coles, who lives in Lincolnshire, is one of the people who suffers from the rare syndrome.

She made headlines earlier this year for appealing for medical help after waking up with a Welsh accent – last week she took to TikTok where she goes by @zoecoles1 to give viewers an update.

The Englishwoman revealed she has been stuck with the Welsh accent for almost five months and has shared her daily struggles.

Her newest video has already been seen by over 18,000 people in a week. 

From being forced to have embarrassing conversations to people not believing her syndrome is real, Zoe explained how it’s affecting her every day life.

The pub worker originally developed a German accent before it morphed into Welsh, despite her having never been to Wales.

Last year she was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder (FND) that affects motor control and speech.

She told viewers ‘ So I was in a clothes shop this weekend and a lady said to me ‘Oh my god, I love your accent, where are you from?’ and I said ‘I’m from here, I woke up with this accent’ and she didn’t believe me.

‘She literally didn’t believe me and it made me feel totally totally embarrassed and I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.

‘I get it a lot – a lot of people stop me and a lot of people who are serving me do ask me where I’m from and I do try and explain that I woke up like this, I’ve got foreign accent syndrome.

Adding ‘It’s embarrassing you know, you’ve got all the people behind you, you’ve got all the people to the side of you that are paying for their items and everyone’s looking at you like ‘we’re all waiting’.

The Englishwoman revealed she has been stuck with the Welsh accent for almost five months and has shared the daily struggles it creates for her

‘They’re all listening because my accent doesn’t fit in around here because no one else speaks like it so obviously I draw attention and I need to speak, I need to talk to my daughter or my fiancé or my son. 

‘I need to speak to the cashier to exchange an item or whatever. I mean how else do I tell you guys? How do I get it across that I woke up speaking with a Welsh accent.

‘I don’t know what else to say other than ‘it’s called foreign accent syndrome, look it up’.

‘You end up getting into this like ‘no’ ‘ yeah’ no, you’re having me on’ ‘no I’m not having you on’ and you end up lie that for a good five minutes and I don’t wanna be in that situation.

The TikToker ended the video by asking for advice: ‘So that was my weekend anyway, if you’ve got any suggestions on how to explain to people what’s happened, please comment.’

Shocked viewers sympathised in the comments, with one writing ‘’m welsh, and it’s crazy how much you actually do sound like us. it must be horrible for you’.

Zoe replied ‘No offence at all but yes it is awful for me’.

Another wrote ‘I can imagine the disbelief with how we sound where we are from! Keep smashing it your staying so strong dealing with it all’.

One curious person asked ‘If you don’t mind me asking, what happens when you try to speak with your original accent? does it sound like you’re forcing it?’ to which the TikToker replied ‘Yes it brings on tics and I’m unable to speak correctly’.

Other sufferers of the condition include an American woman who woke up with a ‘posh’ English accent after suffering a head injury and an Essex woman who woke up  one day speaking with four different Europeans accents.

Foreign accent syndrome: What do we know?

Foreign accent syndrome is a rare disorder that sees the patient speak with a different accent than their natural speaking style.

It is usually the result of a head or brain injury, with strokes being the most common cause.

FAS can also occur after trauma to the brain, bleeding in the brain or a brain tumour. Other causes have also been reported including multiple sclerosis and conversion disorder.

It has only been recorded 150 times worldwide since its discovery in 1907.

FAS has been documented in cases around the world, including accent changes from Japanese to Korean, British English to French and Spanish to Hungarian.

It causes suffers to pronounce vowels in different manners, move their tongue and jaw differently while speaking to produce a different sound and even substitute words for others they may not normally use.

In some cases no clear cause has been identified.

Foreign accent syndrome can last months or years, or sometimes it may even be permanent.


Madison Burgess

Leave a Reply