Oregon Woman Gets Oral Surgery and Wakes Up With Irish Accent

When Karen Butler of Newport, Oregon went in for oral surgery about a year and a half ago, her life was changed forever. When the woman who has never been to Ireland in her life woke up, she spoke with an Irish accent, and she still does to this day.

Butler is one of the very, very select few afflicted with a disorder known as Foreign Accent Syndrome. According to The Oregonian, the paper to originally report on Butler’s story, there have been only about 60 documented cases worldwide since the 1900s. FAS is usually associated with strokes or other maladies involving brain damage, but it appears that this isn’t the case for Butler.

One of the most famous cases is that of a 30-year-old Norwegian woman who developed FAS in 1941 when shrapnel from a bomb dropped on Olso entered her brain. Unfortunately for this woman, the accent she developed was German, and this caused people to believe she was a German collaborator.

Butler’s case isn’t nearly so tragic, and, as evidenced in this segment of the Today Show, she’s actually kind of having fun.

“It’s just like a new toy, and we play with it,” Butler said. TC mark

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  • http://diarmuidsfirstblog.wordpress.com Diarmuid

    Ireland is not in the United Kingdom.

    • Brandon
      • Tadhg

        Buddy, you've proved nothing. Ireland is NOT in the UK. British Isles is a geographical term and you'd be hard pressed to find an Irish person who'd use it. Incidentally, her accent is as Irish as Kim Jong Ill.
        Regards, an Irish man.

      • http://disrespectfultone.blogspot.com/ Daniel Schealler

        Remember this the next time you hear a story like the following:

        A person grew up with accent Q. But after event X, they were stuck with accent R!

        The people with the direct experience who claim 'They have accent R now, how weird!' are almost never native speakers of R, someone who has spent extensive time with native speakers of R, or qualified language experts.

        Then someone who actually is one of those things comes along and says 'Hang on, no, that's not accent R at all. It's just garbled pronunciation that untrained ears wind up falsely interpreting as an R accent.'

        But by then it's already too late. The story is out and imprinted on everyone's mind – never let a nay-sayer spoil a good story.

      • halfling_rogue

        It sounds more like French- Canadien accent with a few twangs of Irish pronunciations to me…

  • Xorgol

    Ireland is not part of the UK. (Apart from Northern Ireland, of course).

  • http://profiles.google.com/sufamiton dan ton

    definitely not an irish accent. sounds more european.

  • Nils_tyssens

    Sounds more like Russian to me xD

  • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

    I wake up speaking a different dialect of American Handitard everyday, so I can relate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      'different dialect of American Handitard'

      That's pretty good.

  • Skeptic

    This chick is so full of it. In the interview and whenever she speaks to anyone she very obviously thinks about how to phrase her speech to force the accent.

  • http://diarmuidsfirstblog.wordpress.com Diarmuid

    Another clip of FAS:
    British woman wakes up with Chinese accent:


  • Jeff

    has no one else noticed that FAS is also FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME??

  • Pfft

    her accent doesn't even sound Irish. It sounds retarded.

  • AJordan

    uh, I call bullshit.

  • DeeQuinn

    Roseanne doppelgänger!

    • LDN

      hahahaha exactly what i was thinking!

      she sounds chinese.

  • http://twitter.com/Cackles Mitch

    Yeah, that doesn't sound Irish at all. It sounds like she had a mild stroke and the speech centers of her brain were damaged.

  • avaadore

    She sounds a wee bit Scottish, not English or Irish. But even then a lot of it sounds broken and weird. Her vowels are a bit flatter like a Scots/Glaswegian accent.

    There's no such thing as a 'British' accent though. Scotland, England and Ireland are completely different countries with different languages and dialects.

  • Ellen O' K.

    If thats an irish accent then I'm not irish… a wee bit scottish with like slight eastern european tinges?

  • Wes

    Sounds half Scottish/half Swedish.

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