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eh?
July 3, 2008 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Woman develops spontaneous Newfie accent after suffering a stroke. I'm not making this up.

Foreign accent syndrome is obviously very intriguing from a medical standpoint, and strokes are usually no laughing matter. But the particular circumstances of this case are...well...just begging to be made light of.
posted by randomstriker (52 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lord T'underin'!!
posted by illiad at 8:31 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Canadians inaugurate national holiday to mirror American Independence Day: July Fools!
posted by carsonb at 8:32 PM on July 3, 2008


Could be worse. She could start thinking she's a Torontonian.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:36 PM on July 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


I heard this on CBC Radio One this afternoon. They played an interview of her speaking and she didn't sound like a Newfoundlander at all, aside from a few "dose" and "dese," so much as slightly rural or someone that works at the local rink or Tim's in a small town. She's from Windsor, what's the diff? It's not like she's suddenly speaking like Bob Marley.
Syndrome!
posted by chococat at 8:49 PM on July 3, 2008


Foreign Accent Syndrome Explained.

Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) Support .

One of many other examples -- Stroke gives woman foreign accent -- "A Geordie woman has apparently developed foreign accents after waking up following a stroke."
posted by ericb at 8:49 PM on July 3, 2008


Just saw that on CBC, interesting.
posted by Fizz at 8:49 PM on July 3, 2008


"A study has pointed out that like aphasia, foreign accent syndrome can occur in Multiple sclerosis as a manifestation of a cortical language disorder."*
posted by ericb at 8:52 PM on July 3, 2008


Our bodies and minds are so complicated. She should be thankful that she's at least alive and well. It's one thing to have a different accent, many people after strokes lose the ability to talk or move around all together. Better a newfie accent than no speech at all. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 8:53 PM on July 3, 2008


One time at Kroger I slipped and hit my head on a display of Pepperidge Farm® bread and started talking like a yankee.
posted by nola at 8:54 PM on July 3, 2008


...started talking like a yankee.

What does a Yankee sound like? Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey, Chelsea, Revere or Boston accent?
posted by ericb at 8:56 PM on July 3, 2008


I'm not sure ericb, it was gibberish so I figured it was a yankee dialect :) Then again I could have been speakin' in tongues or maybe it was some other kind of mystical event. The mind is a strange little sponge.
posted by nola at 9:03 PM on July 3, 2008


Talking like a Yankee is when you start spewing cliches, like Derek Jeter.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:06 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


no, she doesn't sound that much of a maritimer to me - it sounds like a slightly broadened ontario accent to me, although the news story did say that it wasn't as strong as it used to be
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 PM on July 3, 2008


Or could it be that all Newfies talk that way because they have had strokes? Huh? Huh?
posted by wendell at 9:10 PM on July 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


This post on Language Log summarises some of the research on FAS. The bit I find interesting is the idea that the affected person hasn't spontaneously adopted a different accent, but that their impaired speech is perceived as an accent by listeners:

It was hypothesized that the acoustically anomalous features are linked to a common underlying deficit relating to speech prosody. It is suggested that the normal listener categorizes this speech pattern as a foreign accent because the anomalous speech characteristics, while not a part of the English phonetic inventory, reflect stereotypical features which are a part of the universal phonetic properties found in natural language.
posted by xchmp at 9:11 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


'Talking like a Yankee' is no worse than referring to a 'southern accent', is it?

Thanks for the post. I find the idea of FAS really fascinating, as a repressed linguist, and will definitely be doing more reading on it in the near future.
posted by recoveringsophist at 9:16 PM on July 3, 2008


Does foreign accent syndrome somehow explain this?
posted by togdon at 9:27 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is kind of a weak post, isn't it? Two Wikipedia links and a CTV story without any sound clips?
posted by loiseau at 9:31 PM on July 3, 2008


She should be thankful that she's at least alive and well.

RTFM:
Dore took the new regional twang in her voice in stride, noting a change in accent is not the worst possible outcome when it comes to the effects of a stroke.

"My voice changed. Big deal," Dore said. "At least I can still talk to my grandchildren."
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 PM on July 3, 2008


Or could it be that all Newfies talk that way because they have had strokes? Huh? Huh?

Geez...it takes 14 comments for someone to finally figure out what I'm alluding to. Are you all Newfies or somethin'? (*ducks for cover*)
posted by randomstriker at 10:00 PM on July 3, 2008


WTF: "Atlantic Canadian"? Who the hell referrers to people from that region as Atlantic Canadians?
posted by Mitheral at 10:09 PM on July 3, 2008


Mitheral said: "WTF: "Atlantic Canadian"? Who the hell referrers to people from that region as Atlantic Canadians?"

Lots of people, occasionally people from there (like me), depending on who you're talking about.

Newfoundland isn't part of the Maritimes, but it is part of Atlantic Canada.
posted by loiseau at 10:37 PM on July 3, 2008


randomstriker said: "Geez...it takes 14 comments for someone to finally figure out what I'm alluding to. Are you all Newfies or somethin'? (*ducks for cover*)"

Probably some people just found it offensive and chose not to dignify it.
posted by loiseau at 10:39 PM on July 3, 2008


Ok. Still sounds weird to my brain but maybe I just need to get used to it. Seems that it doesn't gain much over Newfoundlander except obfuscation. Next time I'm feeling all PC or want to mess with a wide eyed American I think I'll call myself a Pacific Canadian.
posted by Mitheral at 11:19 PM on July 3, 2008


Speaking as a Newfoundland (literally!), I was amused by this article. But I wonder if a real Newfoundlander would think her accent was authentic, and, if so, which part of Newfoundland would the dialect have appeared to be from.

I have yet to hear anyone from outside of Newfoundland do a convincing "Newfie" accent, and that includes most of the cast of "The Shipping News". Dame Judi Dench was the most grating!
posted by newfers at 11:39 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love the Newfoundland accent. It's like some crazy bastard child of Irish and French with a dash of smalltown rural Canada. I find it just as "distinct society," if not more, than poutine, dépanneurs and la ville de Québec (happy birthday!) which I also love, for sure.

I just really enjoy listening to people speak it; so distinctive.
posted by chococat at 12:36 AM on July 4, 2008


I'm I the only one who read all her quotes in an exaggerated Newfie accent? In my head she sounds kind of like that woman from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, poor thing.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:36 AM on July 4, 2008


What does a Yankee sound like? Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey, Chelsea, Revere or Boston accent?

Upstate New Hampshire, Maine and eastern Vermont have the Yankee accent. The other areas you mention have that industrial-era immigrant tilt to it, in varying degrees, except Revere, which by all indications is populated by an alien colony, whose accent varies with the cruising speed of their Iroqs. Yah, dude.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:01 AM on July 4, 2008


It'd be interesting to hear Oliver Sacks's take on this.
posted by trip and a half at 5:05 AM on July 4, 2008


Could just be the Screech talking.
posted by Gungho at 5:18 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mitheral: Ok. Still sounds weird to my brain but maybe I just need to get used to it. Seems that it doesn't gain much over Newfoundlander except obfuscation.

Feels even weirder to me to be referred to as a 'Maritimer.' To be honest, it was more the Maritimers (NS/NB/PEI) who traditionally insisted upon the distinction - at least when my dad went to university in Nova Scotia in the late '40s (at the time, as a Newfoundlander, he'd've been a foreign national). Of course, I (gently) tease the Cape Bretoners I know by referring to them as 'Western Canadians.'

Next time I'm feeling all PC or want to mess with a wide eyed American I think I'll call myself a Pacific Canadian.

This just begs for a Gordon Lightfoot song.
posted by hangashore at 5:37 AM on July 4, 2008


I heard that the Newfies were in favor of Quebec seceding because they think it'll take two hours less to drive to Toronto.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:13 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


For a while there, I thought the bespectacled bird in the picture was the one suffering from Newfie talk, but I see they went with the photogenic scientist over the 50-year-old stroke victim.
posted by es_de_bah at 7:01 AM on July 4, 2008


CBC had posted than pulled the story...and it reappeared with a new file name that was less controversial.

Original: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/07/02/newfie-stroke.html

Re-post: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/07/03/stroke-accent.html
posted by boost ventilator at 7:11 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


What does a Yankee sound like? Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey, Chelsea, Revere or Boston accent?

One could ask the same question about Newfoundland accents. A St.John's accent is different than Central Newfoundland, which is different from the Southwest Coast acccent. If you live there you learn to distinguish between the accents.

And unless this woman also picked up the grammatical idiosyncrasies that Newfoundlanders also have (such as dropping and adding "H's," and replacing "to" with "at,") I suspect she's just having trouble with vowels after her stroke.
posted by Brodiggitty at 7:18 AM on July 4, 2008


Samuel Farrow: I see what you did there.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:18 AM on July 4, 2008


The story is supposed to be about how the woman developed a rare condition that affects the way she speaks. Unfortunately, some bigots (like the poster, and maybe someone at CBC) get a chuckle out of seeing "stroke" and "newfie" in the same story.

A lot of people in NL get their knickers in a knot when "mainlanders" use the term "newfie" to describe Newfoundlanders--just like some other "n" words. Personally, I don't find the term itself offensive, just the ignorant bigotry of people like randomstriker, wendell and jonmc.

BTW randomstriker, Newfoundlanders don't use the term "eh." That's more of a central Canadian thing.
posted by thejimp at 7:45 AM on July 4, 2008


I'm thinking it's no accident that "Foreign Accent Syndrome" and "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" reduce to the same acronym.

Oh, and so does "Fetish Attraction to Smallwood". (Canadians will understand this. For everyone else, sorry, but a bit more reading is probably necessary.)
posted by Mike D at 7:59 AM on July 4, 2008


Almost 2 years to the day.
posted by gman at 8:04 AM on July 4, 2008


thejimp said: "Personally, I don't find the term itself offensive, just the ignorant bigotry of people like randomstriker, wendell and jonmc."

Yup. All depends on who's saying it and in what spirit.

And this post and some of the comments definitely cross that line.
posted by loiseau at 10:09 AM on July 4, 2008


thejimp FTW.

Although I laughed at this comic, so I'm no better than anybody.

hangashore: Maritimers (I'm one) insist on the distinction only because Newfoundland & Labrador was so late joining the country, afaik. It's just a historical oddity with no ill will behind it. At least most Maritimers don't use Newfie in a pejorative way, not like when we talk about those friggin' Upper Canadians.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:17 AM on July 4, 2008


I looked at this post and thought it said a stroke victim had developed a Newsie accent. I opened up the story and got very confused why people were talking about Canada. It still took me a while to figure out what's going on. Oy, hangovers!
posted by Kattullus at 12:51 PM on July 4, 2008


the ignorant bigotry of people like randomstriker, wendell and jonmc.

Ignorant? Guilty.
Bigoted? No, I'd make the same joke about any case of "Foreign Accent Syndrome".

Or could it be that all Brits talk that way because they have had strokes? Huh? Huh?

Or could it be that all French talk that way because they have had strokes? Huh? Huh?

"The first case of foreign accent syndrome was reported in 1941 in Norway, after a young Norwegian woman suffered shrapnel injury to the brain during an air raid.
Initially, she had severe language problems from which she eventually recovered. However, she was left with what sounded like a strong German accent and was ostracized by her community."


Or could it be that all Germans talk that way because they have had strokes? Huh? Huh?

Find me a case where somebody ended up with a Californian accent, and I'll do the joke about us too.

I consider myself an equal opportunity offender.
posted by wendell at 1:37 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Since this thread has the attention of Americans, please be advised that “Newfoundland” is pronounced to rhyme with, and have the same stress pattern as, “understand.” (The middle vowel is a schwa.)

It is not pronounced “new FOUND lind” or “NEW findlind” (to use non-IPA transliteration). Other accents, including British and Australian, have a more plausible case for the latter variant, though I still suggest to my friends with those accents to say “newfindLAND” as we do.
posted by joeclark at 2:51 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Joe Clark, could you help us pronounce "arrogant and self-absorbed" correctly?

Or where the accent belongs in "Who gives a fuck?"




(I'm Canadian, BTW)
posted by raider at 9:33 PM on July 4, 2008


Way to be a dick, Raider.

This thread sucked from beginning to end. Thank god for the "remove from recent activity" link.
posted by loiseau at 11:36 PM on July 4, 2008


I would so name my kid "Dick Raider" given half a chance.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:48 PM on July 4, 2008


I consider myself an equal opportunity offender.

Fair enough wendell. But you've got to consider the sensitive context of that particular slur.

Newfoundlanders have been the butt of jokes in Canada (and the US) since before we joined confederation in 1949.

At the time we joined, we were Canada's poor cousin--poverty from high unemployment, high emmigration to other parts of north america and stark cultural differences (including regional accents that combine Irish English, Old English and French).

Naturally, as cheap "foreign" labour we were often met with disdain, ridiculed and considered stupid for our unique way of talking and overly friendly (possibly naive) demeanour. That ridicule has remained despite the fact that NL is now one of the best economic performers on the continent.

People here are sick of "newfie" jokes.
posted by thejimp at 7:01 AM on July 5, 2008


NL is now one of the best economic performers on the continent, because most of its men are in Ft. McMurray six months of the year sending money home to their families.

That, and Hibernia.
posted by thewalrus at 11:59 AM on July 5, 2008


"My voice changed. Big deal," Dore said. "At least I can still talk to my grandchildren."

Do strokes sometimes kill grandchildren?
posted by oxford blue at 9:15 PM on July 5, 2008


Depends on whether you're driving your grandkids around when the stroke hits. Also they sometimes leave you without the ability to communicate.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 PM on July 5, 2008


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