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The Woman Who Woke Up Chinese

What happens when you wake up sounding like a foreigner in your own country?

Sarah suffered acute migraines for 10 years but nothing could prepare her for the moment she woke up with a strong Chinese accent. Since then her whole life and identity has been thrown up in the air. She’s never travelled to China, but the moment she opens her mouth she sounds as if she was born in Beijing. At first Sarah was treated for a suspected stroke, but doctors were baffled when numerous tests revealed she hadn’t. So what caused it? Sarah suffers from Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) – one of the rarest speech disorders which has left researchers and speech therapists baffled. For the estimated 100 sufferers worldwide, it has a profound impact on their lives: from problems coping with normal everyday life – like talking on the phone or shopping – to fractured relationships and lost friendships. For some, even their pets stop recognising them. Foreign Accent Syndrome is little understood. Sufferers often feel let down by the medical profession and want clearer answers. Sarah investigates the medical theories which surround its treatment and confronts her own choice to treat, or accept, her new voice.