Crash leaves woman with British accent - MoBay native no longer understands some Jamaican slangs

November 18, 2022
 Deana-Rae Clayton
Deana-Rae Clayton
 Deana-Rae Clayton
Deana-Rae Clayton

Deana-Rae Clayton has been speaking with a British accent since July 2019.

The Montego Bay, St James, native, who has never travelled to the European country, has been using the foreign tongue since she woke up from a coma following a motor vehicle crash.

In addition to speaking in the mother tongue, Clayton struggles to understand certain patios slangs and her ability to speak Jamaican has been gravely affected.

Doctors have diagnosed the 36-year-old with foreign accent syndrome, an extremely rare condition.

"I spoke with an American accent for a week and then that of a Trinidadian for two days. And then I am stuck with a British accent. I don't even understand a lot of the Jamaican slangs and I can't say them," Clayton said.

It followed the nasty crash in Negril, Westmoreland, that claimed the life of one of her friends and left her hospitalised.

"I woke up at Falmouth Hospital with lacerated eyelids. My right eyeball fell out. I had a broken right hip and pelvis, broken left femur, my spine was fractured in three places, and the bones on the left side of my face were also fractured. The head trauma caused severe brain damage so I woke up with foreign accent syndrome," Clayton said.

Just more than 60 persons have been diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome since the first known case in 1907. Renowned neurosurgeon Dr Roger Hunter said the condition may not be reversible.

"There was this lady who is from Britain, and she woke up speaking Jamaican patois, and she wasn't pleased at all," Hunter said.

Th neurosurgeon said that the condition results from traumatic damage to the part of the brain that deals with speech.

"It doesn't necessarily have a good prognosis in terms of it going away. It usually follows from a stroke, head injury and rarely from migraine. It's more in women than men and it's typically something you are stuck with," he said.

Clayton told THE WEEKEND STAR that she has no recollection of what her life was like prior to the accident. She is also constantly in pain and her mobility has been affected as a result of the injuries that she received.

"I am just learning to walk and to accept the fact that my entire life has changed. Physically, it has been hard and mentally it has been harder," she said.

Although she will no longer be able to do a 9-5 job, Clayton said she refuses to throw in the towel and will find other means of making an income. She uses her experience to motivate others and has a huge following on her social media pages.

"I am in social media management and content and digital creating. I do have an accounting business and my memory is way better as it relates to accounting. My brain is like a calculator. I also do a lot of counselling as I am a walking miracle and a lot of persons are going through a miracle phase, and when they are sad, they need to know that even when they don't see the purpose, they are alive for a purpose," she said.

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