US woman speaks in Kiwi accent after waking up from car crash coma

A California woman has emerged from a coma with a strong New Zealand accent after a serious car crash, despite never having been there.

Los Angeles woman Summer Diaz, 24, was hit by a car while crossing the street on November 25 last year and went into a coma for two weeks, reports the Daily Mail.

The website reported that she “doesn’t remember anything about that day”.

Diaz, who works with autistic children, was struck by an SUV as she was crossing the street outside her home.

She was rushed to the hospital with several injuries including to her brain, and spent the next two weeks in an induced coma.

When she woke up she felt “confused and disoriented” and could not speak.

“I remember trying to speak to people and my voice sounded different,” the Daily Mail reported Diaz as saying.

Her boyfriend, who as an English accent, was allowed to visit her in hospital.

“Then I went to rehab and my voice started to get a bit better. I was working with speech therapists, but I was still speaking quite slowly, so it was hard to hear anything. As my voice got stronger people started to hear the accent more.”

Diaz’s accent became so strong that people started questioning where she was from. She went through a range of accents – some lasting just hours and others for months. This is known as FAS – Foreign Accent Syndrome.

“I had a very British accent, close to my boyfriend’s for a while. I had a French one at one point and briefly, I was Russian. At the minute, it’s settled on an Australian or New Zealand accent,” she said.

She’s never been to Aotearoa, but now people often assume she was born there.

When she visited the fire station to thank her rescuers the fire chief asked if she had a Kiwi or Australian accent.

“I explained it was New Zealand, but he asked where I was from, and I had to say I’m from here and he laughed.”

There’s not much treatment available for foreign accent syndrome, but it may go away over time.

Diaz says she loves having a new accent and will wait to see what happens.

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