(WFLA) – Parents say their children are speaking with thick British accents after watching the British children’s program “Peppa Pig.”
Parenting website Romper first reported about the phenomenon after several parents shared their observations online.
“The most entertaining aspect of my life right now is that my toddler has been watching Peppa Pig and now speaks with a British accent,” wrote Twitter user Jess Steinbrenner.
Romper writer Janet Manley said her two-year-old daughter adopted the accent while binge-watching Peppa Pig episodes on a 21-hour flight to Australia, calling her “Mummy” and “finishing her sentences with Peppa’s trademark snort,” Manley wrote.
Others have recorded their children speaking with an English inflection. In a video posted by NBC Charlotte, a young girl can be heard calling a car “wei-ard” instead of “weird”. Another parent said her 3-year-old now pronounces “tomatoes” with a British accent.
But according to linguistics experts, it’s unlikely children are developing will speak whole new utterances they have never heard before based off a cartoon.
“Typically, you would develop the accent of the community around you,” Dr. Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University told the British newspaper The Guardian. “You will learn the dialect that’s around you, which is learned by interactions, not by watching.”
According to linguist and researcher Dr. Karen Stollznow, a child living in America with British parents may develop their accent until they go to school, then they will pick up the primary accent from their friends, classmates and teachers.
Levi told The Guardian that it is possible, however, for children to mimic individual words from the show. For example, tomato or zebra may be pronounced in a British accent if the child is not already familiar with the word.
And they may just simply like Peppa’s accent.
“Kids at that age are certainly aware of those types of differences and can mimic them, too,” said Dr Lisa Davidson, a professor and chair of linguistics at New York University.
Davidson told the newspaper she agrees that “it’s really unlikely that they’d be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show”.