By Hannah McFadyen
An American woman has woken up with a posh English accent after being hit in the head during a break in.
Ashley Bosma, 28, was alone in the family home when an intruder attacked her last October leaving her unconscious.
After being treated in hospital for a head injury, Ashley, from Hollywood, Florida, went back to her normal life despite still suffering with memory problems and brain fog.
But just a month later, her thick American accent disappeared overnight and instead she started speaking with an English one.
Doctors now believe she suffers from foreign accent syndrome – a rare speech disorder found in cases of brain injuries.
Mum of one Ashley said: “I have never been to the UK or even anywhere near it so it is a real mystery how this has happened.
“I was fan of Harry Potter when I was young but not really anything other than that. If anything I was more impressed by the French accent growing up.
“The only exposure I had was a former work colleague was a Brit and I loved his accent but I haven’t spoken to him for about three years.
“My friends and family think it’s really funny. They quote lines from Monty Python and even Mrs Doubtfire at me and finish off conversations with ‘Cheerio’ or some other British mannerisms.”
Her husband Derek and daughter Sophia, 5, are amazed by the transformation in the accent which can also sound Australian or South African at points.
Ashley had recently returned to her studies to be a paramedic after taking time off to recover.
But she has found she suffers with social anxiety after people have accused her of faking it.
Ashley said: “At first I couldn’t understand what was happening and my lips and jaw were hurting and I spoke with the same dialect but didn’t sound like my normal self.
“My husband was there to see it as I had a meeting at home with a Russian fitness trainer and overheard me and he actually thought I was trying to mock the person I was with.
“People think it’s fake, that it’s something not real – I don’t like to record myself much because I sound funny.
“Whenever me and my husband go out, someone will always ask about where I’m from and then we have to explain it all – my husband has perfected his explanation.”
Police are still hunting the intruder, who is believed to have hit Ashley on the head with cast iron skillet.
She still remembers very little from the night of her injury but she does remember the kindness of the paramedics and says that it inspires her as she goes forward in her training.
She added: “That night for me is a blur – I don’t really remember much at all and because there didn’t seem like I had any visible injury on my head, we didn’t think much of it at the time.
“I had a throbbing pain, my sleep started to increase and I had very bad memory issues over the next two days.”
While out to eat with her husband, she lost consciousness and began acting strangely, so her husband rushed her back to hospital.
Ashley said: “They thought I was suffering with retrograde amnesia as at the time I couldn’t form any new memories.
“They wanted to keep me in overnight, but because I was in a strangely belligerent state I decided to check myself out in the middle of the night, but luckily a police officer found me and took me home.
“When I returned to hospital – a different hospital – the doctors thought I had severe concussion she said 6 months of resting my brain – so no social media, no phone.
“I got bored within a week and I didn’t listen and I started to use my phone and I was desperate to return to work and school as a first responder and at this point I still spoke normally.
“The day I finally took home, I slept all day and all night and then after I had an insurmountable amount of sleep and I woke up with an accent.
“My husband reminded me of what the doctor had said originally – about how we shouldn’t be surprised if changes occur, like my speech – it’s extremely rare but stranger things have happened.
Ashley, who worked in the military as a mechanic for six years, gets her care through the VA and was diagnosed as having foreign accent syndrome.
She was put through lots of neurological tests and they looked at history of her exposure to accents, but found that she had only ever been exposed to one British accent – an old supervisor of hers.
“You don’t have to be exposed to the accent for you to develop it and people with an American accent often sound like they’re a cross between American and British English – it’s actually called a transatlantic accent.
“There’s only about 100 cases that have been recorded in the last century – I thought of course I have to be the statistic.
“People think it’s fake, that it’s something not real – which is really frustrating. I don’t like to record myself much because I sounds funny to myself.
“I have two pet corgis and I had someone once ask me ‘do you have corgis because they’re the queen’s favourite?’. I don’t think I even answered him.”
Ashley wants to make people more aware of the syndrome and to reach out to others going through the same thing.
Her husband Derek added: “She’s been so strong about it – I’m not sure If I could have dealt with it as well as she has.
“She’s still the same wife and I feel so much love for her – the accent is just a tiny part of her. I just want her to be happy.”