Lisa Alamia underwent jaw surgery for an overbite just before Christmas of 2015. But when the Texas-born and raised mother of three woke up, she had a British accent.
Alamia says of the confusion she causes:
“People who don’t know me, they’re like, ‘Hey, where are you from?’ I’m from Rosenberg. They’re like, ‘Where is that?’ I’m like, ‘Right here in Rosenberg.’ ‘Oh, you’re from here? How do you talk like that?’ So that’s where the whole story comes up.”
When her speech pattern didn’t return to her normal Texas twang, she sought out help from a neurologist at the Methodist Sugar Land Hospital where she met with neurologist Dr. Toby Yaltho. After doing many different tests, Yaltho couldn’t find the root cause of the issue, but diagnosed Alamia with foreign accent syndrome. Yaltho says that only about 100 people in the past 100 years have been confirmed to have this disorder.
Alamia’s daughter, Kylie confesses that at first, she thought her mother was joking around with her, but the family seems to be taking it in stride.
“They’re like, now there’s no way you sound ‘hood’ at all,” Alamia said. “My daughter laughs at the way I say ‘tamales.’ I used to be able to say it like a real Hispanic girl. Now I cannot.”
Although she is working to correct her accent back to her normal speech, she is unsure if it will ever return. But now she’s finally opening up about her story. At first, she was put off by doubters who might see her story as a hoax.
I didn’t know the reaction I was going to get from people,” she said. “So I didn’t know if they’re going to judge me. Are they going to think I’m lying or even understand how I’m speaking?”
For now, Alamia and her family are enjoying the novelty of her new accent.