The British are coming for your children even during the pandemic. There’s been a side effect of the pandemic that’s affecting a number of children across the US. And, this isn’t health-related.
The Wall Street Journal originally reported that some youngsters are emerging from the pandemic acting rather British. The culprit being the wildly popular children’s television show Peppa Pig.
Parrot Analytics Ltd, a company that measures and tracks television show ratings showed that Peppa Pig kept its number 2 spot in popularity only behind Spongebob Squarepants.
“Young Peppa fans see her as a friend…and, as we do with friends that we admire, pick up some of their characteristics,” Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One Ltd. said in a written statement to the WSJ. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” it added.
This latest round of British speak happening among toddlers was spurred on by a viral post by a Seattle mom on Tiktok. She shared some videos of her daughter speaking with a British accent. The mom said this is odd, since neither her or her husband are from across the pond.
Peppa Pig influencing British accents in US children
“My daughter has what I call the “Peppa Pig British accent.” As you can tell I am not British, unfortunately, and my husband is from Japan but my daughter actually speaks fully in a British accent,” she said.
@cultofdom##momsoftiktok ##toddlersoftiktok ##peppa ##peppapig ##benandhollylittlekingdom ##british ##fyp ##foryoupage ##foryou ##accents ##toddler ##toddlermama ##cute♬ original sound – Dom
The video goes on to show instances of her daughter using phrases like, “How clever!” and “Daddy” with a prevalent accent.
Other moms on social media have also shared similar videos like this one.
@haileyannwardThis child has a tiny British accent 🤣 #toddlermama #momlife #momtok #pregnancy #pregnant🤰 #british #peppa #peppapig♬ original sound – Hailey Ward
@girlgonechildNo #peppaeffect here. 🇬🇧🐷🤦♀️ #peppapig #britishaccent #momsoftiktok #SummerMashup #GetYourJeansOn♬ original sound – girlgonechild
My 5-year-old niece in NYC had an American accent before the pandemic. Now she has a posh English accent after spending a year at home watching Peppa Pig. This phenomenon is so widespread that it’s a trending hashtag #PeppaEffect @peppapig 🐽🤯
— Preetika Rana (@Preetika_Rana) June 28, 2021
The #PeppaEffect picked up enough steam that the official Peppa Pig account on Twitter chimed in with some helpful distinctions for parents whose children have become Anglified.
Seeing as the #PeppaEffect is trending. ⁰🇺🇸 Parents – you may want to screenshot this.
— Peppa Pig Official (@peppapig) July 19, 2021
The British are coming but that’s not all folks
This isn’t the first time that parents have noticed some British-isms sneaking into their children’s vocabulary.
In 2019 The Guardian spoke to linguistic experts about the phenomenon that was said to be taking over in some instances.
Dr Susannah Levi, an associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, told the Guardian that she was “suspicious” of this idea because language and accents are generally developed by hearing how the community around you is speaking.
“For example,” they said “a toddler with British parents who lives in Texas will most likely have an American accent.
“You will learn the dialect that’s around you, which is learned by interactions, not by watching,” Levi said.
She went on to add that it is possible to see an accent or something similar pop up for certain words, especially when they’re hearing them for the first time.
Part of it too may be just because they like Peppa!
“Kids at that age are certainly aware of those types of differences and can mimic them, too,” said Dr. Lisa Davidson. Dr. Davidson is a professor and chair of linguistics at New York University. She told The Guardian that it’s pretty unlikely that a whole new dialect is forming, but it’s probably just a few words or phrases they’ve heard often that they like repeating.
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