Neurogenic foreign accent syndrome: articulatory setting, segments and prosody in a Dutch speaker
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Journal of neurolinguistics. - Oxford
, p. 599-614
University of Antwerp
Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) can be defined as a motor speech disorder in which patients develop a speech accent which is notably different from their premorbid habitual accent. This paper aims to provide an explicit description of the neurolinguistic and phonetic characteristics of a female speaker of Belgian Dutch who suffered from neurogenic FAS in which she developed a French/German foreign accent after a left hemisphere stroke. A detailed phonetic analysis of the speakers pronunciation errors revealed problems at both the segmental and suprasegmental level. At the segmental level a wide variety of pronunciation errors were observed which are consistent with a tense articulatory setting: creaky voice, strengthening of fricatives into stops and more carefully articulated consonants and vowels. The data suggest that the perception of the French accent may have resulted from a combination of speech pathology features and unaffected regional pronunciation characteristics of the patients Standard Dutch. In contrast to the traditional view in the literature that FAS represents a primary dysprosodic disturbance, a detailed analysis of the speakers intonation contours by means of the stylization method revealed the entirely correct implementation of the most common pitch contours of Standard Dutch. This unique finding shows that FAS does not by definition follow from disruption of prosodic processing. However, the frequency of occurrence of the different types of pitch contours was clearly deviant since the patient very frequently used the Dutch continuation rise. It is hypothesized that this might represent a deliberate strategy of the speaker to stay in control of the speaking situation by keeping the speaking turn which she is at continuous risk of losing as the result of long and frequent pausing.