Children across the U.S are acting British and speaking in English accents and it is all thanks to "Peppa Pig."
The British show has always been hugely popular but children have been more exposed to it since the start of the pandemic, when parents desperate to keep their kids occupied while working and attending Zoom calls, relied more heavily on "Peppa Pig" as a babysitter.
They could not have anticipated just how influential the show would be on their children's speech and behavioral patterns. And although the so-called Peppa Effect continues to gain momentum, parents are delighted and amused by the phenomenon, rather than concerned.
Lauren Ouellette, who lives in North Scituate, Rhode Island, told The Wall Street Journal that her six-year-old daughter's insistence on adopting British holiday traditions like wearing a crown and baking mince pies for "Father Christmas" has given their family "room to explore something new."
She also laughs at her daughter's phrases, like "Can we turn the telly on?" and her reference to the water closet instead of a bathroom.
"I was like, 'Where did she learn that from? Was she on the Titanic in a past life?'" she said.
"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 statement to WSJ. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," it added.
For 12 months, since last February, "Peppa Pig" retained its spot as the world’s second-most in-demand children’s cartoon. Only "SpongeBob SquarePants" surpassed it. Additionally, the show, which was released in 2004, has become the 50th most in-demand show of any kind.
Commenting on the Peppa Effect, Roberto Rey Agudo, the language program director of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Dartmouth College, told Romper that it was in part because "'Peppa Pig' has been such a phenomenon with the 2 to 5-year-old crowd and it's considered cute, whereas I don't know what other shows have that kind of currency right now."
The accent may also be a way for toddlers to communicate and get their parent's attention, said Dr. Emma Byrne, author of "Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language."
"If you imagine being somewhere between the ages of 2 and 5, you don't have much power in this world, beyond those tantrums of going all floppy, but as soon as you find a word or a sound in this case to consistently get your parents' attention, it's an amazing thing," she said.
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