It’s not unusual for people to try out their best fake British accent after a weekend marathon of “Downton Abbey.” Whether you’re reading Shakespeare aloud to your chums or describing a rash to your doctor, the accent is just so charming and fun. In the case of Texas native Lisa Alamia, however, you’ll be gobsmacked to know she’s spoken the Queen’s English for nearly six months, and not by choice.
After a routine jaw surgery, Alamia awoke and found that a British accent had replaced her lifelong Texas drawl. While she didn’t notice anything at first, it wasn’t until her family pointed out the curious change to her voice. A doctor (not named Who) diagnosed Lisa with Foreign Accent Syndrome, a rare condition that’s affected only about 100 people. Ever.
Foreign Accent Syndrome usually affects those who have had some form of head trauma. (No offense to anyone with a British accent.) But in the case of Alamia, no one really knows just what brought this on. Alamia’s neurologist, Dr. Toby Yaltho, said his examination found no brain injuries, no complications from surgery, and no signs of a stroke.
Alamia says if the accent sticks, she’s cool with it. Her husband told CNN his wife still has trouble pronouncing some words: “She can’t say ‘just kidding.’ She can’t say ‘normal.’ She can’t say ‘tamales.’” It looks like Alamia should turn lemons into lemonade and take her voice talents to Hollywood. We’d be excited to see her as the next mastermind Bond villain, or Orbit Gum spokesperson, or at least anything that isn’t just another stereotypical Latina role.
Although they’re always so self-conscious of it, I love listening to my parents speak English. Their heavy accent, present in every syllable, tells a story of sacrifice, bravery, determination, and love. Along with a new way of life away from all their families and friends, they also had to learn an entire new language. My immigrant parents left their families behind in search for better opportunities, not just for themselves but for future generations as well, and their accent is like a scar that reminds them of the sacrifices and years of hard work to get them to where they are. To get us to where we are.
The beautiful part of all of this is that I am not alone in this experience, as there are so many other members of my community that have gone through the same thing. In each other, we find strength, love, and family, and when we speak we don’t worry about being judged by others for having an accent or for being from where we’re from. It fills me with so much hope to know that these sentiments are not confined to our gente, but to everyone’s gente from all around the world, and so we are all connected accents and all.
To honor our differences, mitú has partnered up with Cinq Music for a new collection that is all about owning our accents and connecting with others from all over the world who are doing the same.
What began as a conversation between two musicians who bonded over a mutual love of writing and performing music has turned into something much bigger, and so much more special. Drei Ros was worried about how his Romanian accent would be perceived when RobYoung explained that his accent is actually what made him unique, and made him feel connected to others who felt the same. Thus marked the beginning of “Excuse My Accent — a global media platform designed to share cultural stories of inclusivity, spotlight incredible individuals from diverse backgrounds, and feature organizations that are helping multicultural communities.”
Excuse My Accent is a collective committed to telling stories of empowerment and perseverance to humanize the multicultural experiences of so many around the world. The collective is made up of entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, and advocates who believe that sharing our human experiences and celebrating our unique cultural differences empowers us all. It has long been time to change the narrative around accents and celebrate our identities.
As part of the mitú and Cinq partnership with Excuse My Accent, we are featuring the collection in our mitúShop and the items are perfect for anyone who wants to join in the conversation and make a statement.
Excuse My Accent — Hat
Let others know that there’s more than meets the eye with your own Excuse My Accent hat! The next question you’ll probably be asked is where your accent is from and just like that, you’ve made a connection with someone 😉
Speaking of connectedness, let’s hear it for inclusivity! These inclusivity joggers are the definition of comfort, and the bands around the ankles means you can wear this out and about and not get dirty looks from señoras at the supermercado because they can’t believe you walked out of the house con esas garras. Señora, es fashion!
Adrián González has been playing professional baseball for the past 16 years, bringing his A-game to Los Doyers since 2012, but he felt something was missing from his uniform: the accent.
It’s no surprise that González felt unsettled. A word in Spanish with a missing accent? Is actually misspelled. Major League Baseball recently fixed that by adding the “á” to González. He didn’t stop there, though, challenging other Latino players, such as teammate Kiké Hernández, to do the same.
“After 16 years in baseball, there was only one thing I needed to put an accent on. Kiké, I challenge you to join.#PonleAcento,” González wrote on Instagram.
And Enrique “Kiké” Hernández, his teammate, accepted the challenge by sharing a picture of his new jersey and saying, “Look how pretty Hernández looks with its accent. I already got it @adrian_eltitan, so now I invite all my Latino brothers to get their accent. #PonleAcento.”