Texas mom has jaw surgery, ends up with British accent

One Rosenberg, Texas, mother of three has a British accent, but she was born and raised in the state.

“People who don’t know me, they’re, like, 'Hey, where are you from?'" Lisa Alamia told KHOU. “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."

>> Read more trending stories

Lisa Alamia actually has foreign accent syndrome, which developed when she underwent surgery six months ago to fix an overbite.

Her husband, Richard Alamia, noticed it immediately as she came out of surgery.

"I said, 'Doctor is that normal for her voice?' He said, 'Oh yeah. It will go away in a couple of days,'" he told KTRK.

Six months later, the accent is still there.

One doctor at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital told KHOU less that 100 people around the world have the syndrome.

Lisa Alamia's oldest daughter thought her accent was a joke at first, "But then she showed me that the doctor diagnosed her with foreign accent syndrome. Then I was, like, 'Oh, Lord,'" Kayla Alamia said.

“They’re, like, 'Now there’s no way you sound ‘hood at all,'" Lisa Alamia said. "'Even if you tried, you wouldn’t be able to sound that way.' 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.”

Dr. Toby Yalto, Lisa Alamia's neurologist, ran tests to determine what led to this change.

So far, he's had no luck.

"I can't think of a reason the jaw surgery would cause it," Yalto said. "I went back and looked at the operative report to see if there were any complications from surgery but there weren't any."

Despite the unique change, Lisa Alamia could slowly get her Texas accent back.

"I've worked very hard these six months to get it where it is now, so I'm thinking, hopefully, in another six months maybe I'll have it back," Lisa Alamia said. "If not, then I'm completely comfortable staying how I am."

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.