Australian woman's shock after 'waking up with Irish accent'

·2-min read

A woman from Queensland is documenting her journey on TikTok after she said she woke up with an Irish accent following surgery on her tonsils at the end of April.

Angela Yen, 27, told Storyful she had a tonsillectomy on April 19 and was shocked 10 days later when she found herself speaking in an Irish accent.

“I’ve never been to Ireland. I grew up in Australia and had an Aussie accent for the last 20 years since I moved here when I was eight years old,” she said.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, a science communicator, said in a TikTok video Yen may have foreign accent syndrome, a rare speech disorder that causes the person with it to sound like they are speaking with an accent from another country.

"I woke up this morning. I didn't do anything different. I had breakfast," Ms Yen says in a TikTok video.

"I took a shower, and I usually sing when I'm showering and listening to songs. And all of a sudden, I was talking in an Irish accent.

"And I thought initially that that was just something I was just hearing, that this can't be real. And now, I can't shake it. 

"I just did a job interview in an Irish accent when I've never been to Ireland."

Australian woman Angela Yen says she woke up with an Irish accent, documenting her experience in a series of TikTok videos. Source: TikTok via Storyful
Australian woman Angela Yen says she woke up with an Irish accent, documenting her experience in a series of TikTok videos. Source: TikTok via Storyful

In her most recent update, Yen hit back at a skeptical commenter, documenting the amount she could end up spending in medical bills while trying to get her Australian accent back.

Ms Yen said she had a neurologist appointment in early June, which would cost $460 "with maybe about $100 and something back from Medicare".

"And I do have top private health insurance, but even for that, I had to pay an out-of-pocket for my anaesthetist and also my ear, nose, and throat specialist for my tonsillectomy," she said.

"Speech therapy sessions, I'm told that I need a couple regular ones, and I don't even know how much each session costs."

Ms Yen said one of her doctors told her she might need to go to acting school to relearn her Australian accent "and that's very expensive".

– Storyful

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