I have a problem ó a problem that Iíve been conscious of for some time now, but simply havenít been able to identify.

Iíve always known I was different. So I guess maybe Iíve just tried to ignore it, assuming it was a phase that Iíd eventually outgrow. Or maybe I could just bury it deep enough inside my psyche that Iíd forget about it altogether.

Only Dave and my girls know my secret, for lack of a better word. Otherwise Iíve managed to keep it from most everyone else. And with the exception of the occasional slip of the tongue, usually when weíre traveling and Iím especially relaxed, I think Iíve done a fairly good job of hiding it. Amazing the kind of freedom you feel when youíre across the Atlantic and in a foreign country.

The problem is, itís actually getting tougher and tougher to suppress these tendencies. And despite my best efforts to ignore the behavior, itís only made the compulsion stronger.

See, for the most part, I havenít really understood what I was dealing with. But now, after finally taking the time to search for answers, Iíve discovered that what Iíve been dealing with all these years actually has a name. And while rare, is nothing to be ashamed of or concerned about for the long term.

I have Foreign Accent Syndrome. Or a facsimile thereof. And Iím not going to be embarrassed by it any more.

What does that mean? Well, it means that, at random times, and with no advance warning, I break out into a fake foreign accent. Could be British or French or Jamaican or just a simple Southern drawl. Sometimes itís at the dinner table, other times itís in an airport. But itís almost constant whenever Iím in a foreign country.

What can I say, Iím an accent fanatic. I love them all. Foreign and domestic. Because to me, they all have a certain je-ne-sais-quoi quality. They all have a unique allure.

The truth is, Iíve wanted an accent for as long as I can remember. Sort of like how some kids grow up wanting a pony. But I wasnít exactly like other kids. Just ask my aunt and uncle who live in central Georgia. Whenever I went down to visit my cousins, I transformed into a bonafide Georgia peach within 10 minutes of debarking the plane. And I usually kept the drawl for most of the trip. Just couldnít help myself. I just find accents so addictive. And my penchant for them has only gotten worse.

For instance, about five years ago, Dave and I took our girls to Europe on holiday. Uh, there I go again. I said ďholiday.Ē We were in London for about 10 days and from the second I cleared through customs, I was like a language chameleon ó taking on a British accent before we even made it to baggage claim. And, much to the embarrassment of both my kids, I kept it up for most of the trip. Em-barr-a-ss-ing.

The thing is, though, Iím not alone. You might remember how Madonna adopted a British accent almost immediately after she married Guy Ritchie and moved to the UK back in 2012. Thereís also Nicki Minaj and Johnny Depp, both of whom are notorious for lapsing into British accents at random times.

Now granted, some accents are sexier than others. Youíve got your South African, Italian, Brazilian, Australian, British and French, to name only a few of my top-tier favorites. Texan and Southern are the only American accents that foreigners can really hear, and theyíre just downright adorable, so those make the list, too.

OK, so I guess, at the end of the day, I probably donít have a legitimate case of FAS. But rather something a little more benign, like linguistic accommodation. (Itís amazing, the stuff you can learn when youíre alone in a room with a laptop and Wi-Fi.)

With linguistic accommodation, most of the dialogue adaptation happens subconsciously, with people just responding to what they hear around them. Much like in my case. I hear a French accent, and I automatically start replicating it.

Because letís face it, if youíre an American, and a pretty decent number of us are, then you know that we really donít have anything resembling an accent. Itís sad but true. And I think thereís probably a decent amount of accent envy here on our side of the pond.

Think about it. Start speaking to someone whoís British and they automatically appear more intelligent. More posh. You know they do. Itís a known fact that accents trigger emotional responses. I mean, just by virtue of the sound of someoneís voice, they can project an intellectual quality.

Now this is certainly not to say that someone with a foreign accent is smarter than someone without one, but general perception ó and thatís really what Iím talking about ó is that someone with an accent appears more worldly. More exotic. More glamorous.

So for those of us who are drawn to these mysterious, sexy foreign dialects to the point where we fuse them into our personality, I say, bloody brilliant! Because if inserting a twang into your voice or impersonating an Aussie is all it takes for you to feel a little more sophisticated and erudite, then I say have at it. And Iíd be gobsmacked if people didnít take to it eventually.

Otherwise, the worst thing that happens is that you end up looking like a wanker. And people eventually forget wankers.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com. She is also the author of ďLIFE: It Is What It Is,Ē available on Amazon.com.