The Peppa Effect: American Children Are Developing British Accents

BY: MURSAL HABIBZAI

American children have allegedly adopted British accents from watching “Peppa Pig.” According to parents, the show has started to influence the way their children speak. Children are beginning to talk like the famous pig and pronounce words differently such as “mummy” instead of “mommy.” American parents have taken to Twitter to connect with other parents who have shared experiences with this interesting phenomenon called the #PeppaEffect.

The popular British TV show revolves around a female pig called Peppa and her adventures or misadventures growing up with her brother George and her parents.  The show also includes various other animals within the community she lives in. In the show, Peppa and her friends can be seen doing normal human activities such as riding bikes and going swimming. Peppa is an anthropomorphic character meaning she has human characteristics like wearing clothes and driving in cars but still has animal features like snorting.

As interesting as this sounds, kids practicing different accents and speech isn’t a new discovery and has in fact been around for a long time. Children cognitively are very likely to act certain ways because of the activities they come in contact with frequently. Roberto Rey Agudo, the Spanish and Portuguese Language Director at Dartmouth College told the publication Romper that the phenomenon american children adopting british accents from watching Peppa Pig is normal and “a matter of exposure”.

The reason being the age demographic that children tend to watch the show are a very young age, usually within the 2-5 year old range. The children are too young and are not at the stage where they are able to tell the distinction between different dialects. Agudo’s daughter can be seen as an example to explain how young children aren’t able to distinguish different dialects. “his daughter, who is bilingual, will ask her grandmother to read Spanish and English books, without realizing they are in different languages.” As entertaining as having a child that speaks an English accent in American is, this is merely just a phase and it will pass meaning parent should enjoy it while it lasts.