American children who spent the pandemic watching Peppa Pig have begun adopting ‘posh English accents’ and phrases, a report claims.
Parents are calling it the ‘Peppa’ after it is said to have affected kids’ speech after they spent the isolated year binge-watching the UK cartoon.
Kids who were forced to swap socialising with their young pals for extra screen time during the US Covid restrictions are apparently using phrases like “telly” and “ready, steady, go.”
Some were even swapping the American “mommy” for an English-accented ‘mummy.”
Amused parents told the Wall Street Journal their kids were saying “Father Christmas” instead of “Santa Claus” and using expressions borrowed from Brits like “give it a go.”
Peppa Pig was reportedly the second most-watched cartoon in the US after Spongebob Squarepants for the 12-month period ending February, according to viewing figures from consulting firm Parrot Analytics.
Californian Matias Cavallin told the newspaper his five-year-old daughter Dani had begun saying things like: “mummy, are you going to the optician?”
Lauren Ouellette said her six-year-old referred to a bathroom as a “water closet” – an old-fashioned phrase that may baffle any modern Brit just as much as it did the Rhode Island mum.
“I was like ‘where did she learn that from? Was she on the Titanic in a past life?’ ” Ms Ouellette added.
Peppa Pig production company Entertainment One told the Journal: “Young Peppa fans see her as a friend… and, as we do with friends that we admire, pick up some of their characteristics.”
It is not the first time Americans have claimed their kids are picking up British-isms from the youngsters’ favourite talking pig.
Even before the pandemic, parents had claimed their children were picking up slight English accents from the hit show.
However a speech and linguists experts said kids were more like parroting the characters on the show, rather than developing proper British accents.
Dr Susannah Levi, an associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, told the Guardian in 2019 that kids’ accents were typically shaped by the community around them.
She used the example of toddlers growing up in Texas with British parents – who would more likely develop an American accent over time.
However she said it was possible kids were learning to mimic particular words in an accent different from their own.
They might adopt Peppa’s middle-England vowel sounds for a particular word they had not heard often in their own accent before – like “tomah-to” or “zeh-bra,” she suggested.
Another expert told the newspaper curious kids potentially just mimicked the fictional pig’s accent because they liked it.
Dr Lisa Davidson, a professor and chair of linguistics at New York University: “Kids at that age are certainly aware of those types of differences and can mimic them, too.”
And as all parents will be well aware- kids are very skilled at noticing whatever behaviour gets their attention.
According to previous reports, American parents had noted their little Peppa fans had also begun making snorting noises.