Dysprosody, which may manifest pseudo-foreign accent syndrome, refers to a disorder in which one or more of the prosodic functions are either compromised or eliminated.

Prosody refers to the variations in melody, intonation, pauses, stresses, intensity, vocal quality, and accents of speech. As a result, prosody has a wide array of functions, including expression on linguistic, attitudinal, pragmatic, affective and personal levels of speech. People diagnosed with dysprosody most commonly experience difficulties in pitch or timing control.People diagnosed with the condition can comprehend language and vocalize what they intend to say, however, they are not able to control the way in which the words come out of their mouths. Since dysprosody is the rarest neurological speech disorder discovered[citation needed], not much is conclusively known or understood about the disorder. The most obvious expression of dysprosody is when a person starts speaking in an accent which is not their own. Speaking in a foreign accent is only one type of dysprosody, as the condition can also manifest itself in other ways, such as changes in pitch, volume, and rhythm of speech. It is still very unclear as to how damage to the brain causes the disruption of prosodic function. The only form of effective treatment developed for dysprosody is speech therapy.


Dysprosody is "characterized by alterations in intensity, in the timing of utterance segments, and in rhythm, cadency, and intonation of words."These differences cause a person to lose the characteristics of their particular individual speech. While the individual's personality, sensory comprehension, motor skills, and intelligence all remain intact, their grammar as well as vocal emotional capacity can be affected. Prosodic control is essential to speech delivery because it establishes vocal identity, since each individual's voice has unique characteristics. There are two types of dysprosody, linguistic and emotional, that each present with slightly different symptoms. It is possible that one can present with both forms of dysprosody.[citation needed].



Dysprosody works on a linguistic level in that it specifies the intent of one's speech. For example, prosody is responsible for verbal variations in interrogative versus declarative statements and serious versus sarcastic remarks. Linguistic dysprosody refers to the diminished ability to verbally convey aspects of sentence structure, such as placing stress on certain words for emphasis or using patterns of intonation to reveal the structure or intention of an utterance. For example, individuals with linguistic dysprosody may have difficulty distinguishing the production of interrogative and declarative sentences, switching or leaving out the expected rising and falling shift, respectively.Thus, linguistic dysprosody alters an individual's vocal identity and impairs verbal communication.[citation needed]


Emotional dysprosody deals with a person's ability to express emotions through their speech as well as their ability to understand emotion in someone else's speech. Whenever we speak, whether we realize it or not, there are nonverbal aspects of our speech that reveal information about our feelings and attitude. There has been strong evidence that dysprosody does affect the ability to express emotion, however the severity may vary depending on what part of the brain has been damaged. Studies have shown that the ability to express emotional information is dependent on motor, perceptual, and neurobehavioral functions all working together in a specific way. A person with dysprosody would not be able to accurately convey emotion vocally, such as through pitch or melody, or make any conclusion about another person's feeling through his speech. Regardless of the inability to vocally express feeling through prosodic controls, emotions are still formed and felt by the individual. Since there are many different factors which contribute to emotional understanding of speech, it makes it much more complicated to understand.