After spending his whole life in Largs, Tom Paterson once had an Ayrshire accent.
But when a car crash left him in a coma for six weeks he woke up with a different voice.
Tom, 39, now speaks with an accent which sounds strangely European.
He believes he has the rare condition Foreign Accent Syndrome which can affect sufferers of brain injuries or strokes.
He said: “I say that’s what I have, it gives me an explanation.
“When I came to, I thought ‘my voice is funny.’ Folk were saying ‘where are you from?’
“All my life I’ve been Tom from Largs and now people think I’m Tomasz from Poland.
People ask, ‘Have you always stayed in Largs?’
“I’ve been Portuguese, German, Spanish, French, even Israeli! The most common are Belgian, Norwegian or German.”
A speech therapist first suggested Tom could be affected by the condition which leaves patients sounding completely different.
Some recorded cases have seen patients start sounding Irish or French, while one American woman now has an English accent.
Experts say tiny areas of damage in various parts of the brain might explain changes to vocal features. Tom has therapy to improve his speech, which is still slurred. But he says his new voice doesn’t bother him – because he’s lucky to be alive.
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