Three women in different countries wake up with foreign accents

Nick's ESL News Lessons

A printable worksheet for news-based English conversation classes.

Date: 2023/02/23

Difficulty: Upper intermediate B2

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Vocabulary Match

condition -   - headache
syndrome -   - happened
migraine -   - barrier
accent -   - problem
impediment -   - illness
occurred -   - dialect

Article

Three women from different parts of the world were featured in a recent episode of "60 Minutes Australia" because they all share an extremely rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome.

The women - Cindy Hastings, Sarah Colwill, and Kay Russell - all had severe migraines before waking up the following morning with different accents.

Cindy from Australia now speaks with an Eastern European accent, Sarah from England now speaks with a Chinese accent, and Kay from the UK now speaks with a French accent.

Dr. Nick Miller explains that the change in speech is actually a speech impediment caused by whatever condition occurred in the brain as a result of the migraines.

The patients will likely suffer from it for the rest of their lives.

Quiz

  1. What is the name of the rare condition featured on "60 Minutes Australia"?
  2. What is the explanation given by Dr. Nick Miller for the change in speech?

Conversation

Sarah: I can't believe I woke up with a Chinese accent, just because I had a migraine.
Kay: I know, it's like our brains got rewired overnight.
Sarah: It's been so hard, people just don't believe it's real.
Kay: Yeah, some of my friends stopped talking to me because of my accent.
Sarah: I've given up trying to explain it to people, it's just too exhausting.
Kay: At least we have each other to talk to about it.

Discussion

  1. Have you ever experienced a sudden change in your body or health?
  2. What would you do if you woke up one day speaking with a foreign accent?
  3. Which English accent would you like to speak fluently with?
  4. If you could wake up speaking any language fluently, which one would you choose?

Vocabulary Answers

condition → problem
syndrome → illness
migraine → headache
accent → dialect
impediment → barrier
occurred → happened

Quiz Answers (examples)

  1. It's called Foreign Accent Syndrome
  2. He said the change in speech is actually a speech impediment caused by whatever condition occurred in the brain as a result of the migraines.

Source Material

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/other/the-mind-blowing-60-minutes-episode-about-women-who-woke-up-with-foreign-accents/ar-AA17Oh27?ocid=weather-verthp-feeds


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