Birmingham-born Debie Royston has never been to France but now speaks with a bizarre Gallic twang after suffering a series of seizures.
Debie, 40, was unable to speak at all for a month but when her voice returned it had changed.
She said: “I had a bad seizure and when it stopped, my mouth wouldn’t work. Over the next month, I had to learn to speak again. But when I did, I heard a different sound, not my Brummie accent. I sounded French but I’ve never even been there. People say to me, ‘Where are you from?’ and when I say ‘Birmingham’ they say, ‘No, you’re French’.”
Debie is one of 60 people worldwide who suffer from foreign accent syndrome.
Debie, of Gillingham, Kent, said: “I couldn’t see the funny side at first but you learn to laugh.
“Sometimes it would be easier to say I’m from France but then people might start talking French to me!”
She added: “Someone said my accent now sounds sexy and it would be a shame if my Brummie one comes back. That upset me because I liked my old accent.”