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Acquired German Accent: A Functional Neural Systems Approach to Foreign Accent Syndrome
First described by French neurologist Pierre Marie in 1907, foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare speech disorder in which individuals take on, what is perceived by observers, to be a distinct accent differing in many respects from the individual’s native accent. FAS has been of great interest in the neuropsychological literature because its unique features have challenged our understanding of the neural systems underlying the production of speech, shedding light on neural structures that had previously not been regarded as integral to speech production. In the approximately 60 reported cases of FAS, nearly all have involved a stroke or traumatic brain injury resulting in relatively small lesions (in comparison with one resulting in expressive aphasia) of the language dominant hemisphere in the prerolandic motor cortex, insular cortex, the frontal motor association cortex, and/or the striatum of the language dominant hemisphere (Blumstein & Kurowski, 2006). Several FAS cases with neuroimaging data have also shown lesions of the frontoparietal regions, right hemisphere, basal ganglia, and the right cerebellum (Marien, Verhoeven, Engelborghs, Rooker, Pickut, & De Deyn, 2006).