A bizarre case of a woman briefly recapturing the language of her childhood after a stroke has recently been reported in New York. The 65-year-old, who, it was thought, had always spoken with a Bronx accent, spoke with a Northern Irish accent for about four months after the stroke. She had never lived in Ireland, but her mother was Irish and she had grown up in an Irish community.

People who suffer strokes may lose their ability to speak acquired languages but remain fluent in their mother tongues. The New York woman, according to the journal Medical Monitor, is the first recorded case of an early accent re-emerging after a stroke.