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Australian woman who woke up from surgery with NI accent hasn’t lost it one year on

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The Australian woman woke up from surgery on her tonsils in April 2021 to realise she had an Irish accent.

The Australian woman woke up from surgery on her tonsils in April 2021 to realise she had an Irish accent.

The Australian woman woke up from surgery on her tonsils in April 2021 to realise she had an Irish accent.

An Australian woman who woke up from surgery with a Northern Ireland accent has revealed she still speaks with one a year on.

Angie Yen, who shared her experience under the name Angie McYen on social media sites including TikTok, had tonsil surgery in April last year. 

Speaking to Australia’s 7 News recently, the 29-year-old revealed that her speech "hasn't completely reverted back" to her Aussie accent.

"I still have a light American and Northern Irish lilt. It gets thicker when I'm stressed, tired or run down," she said.

"I still struggle to pronounce words sometimes in my professional life as a dentist – embarrassing at times, people struggle to understand what I'm saying, and I get frustrated being asked to repeat myself. I still sound different and some days with a thicker accent."

She was shocked to wake up with a Northern Irish accent last year, despite never having visited Ireland. 

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Ms Yen shared clips of herself speaking in an unmistakeable Irish accent after the operation on her throat. At first, she thought it was all a dream.

“I woke up with an Irish accent the day before and thought I was gonna wake up from this weird dream. But no, my Aussie accent’s gone,” she said at the time.

Angie has been documenting her experience with what she describes as foreign accent syndrome over the past several months on her account @angie.mcyen.

The dentist, who lives in Brisbane, said the experience has been like being "in someone's body but it was my face I was seeing in the mirror".

She moved to Australia from Taiwan when she was just eight years old and has been suffering from something she said is an extremely rare brain disorder, which causes a sudden change to a person's speech. 

It is typically triggered by a head injury, surgery or stroke.

Ms Yen said that while the "speech issues were temporary struggles that got better with time", the greatest challenge has been "accepting my new accent, voice and identity".

"It's bizarre as I never had speech issues despite English being my second language, and I grew up here in Australia," she said.

She first noticed a difference in her voice while singing in the shower in the days after her surgery.

"I had no idea this could happen overnight to people and learned that it was most commonly caused by neurological triggers such as from stroke, seizures and migraines,” she said.

"I was so worried that I was going to have a stroke, but I didn't have any of the typical signs."


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