Parents on social media have started bonding over the #PeppaEffect: the phenomenon of non-British children developing an accent after watching Peppa Pig

By Jen Juneau
February 14, 2019 10:11 AM
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Credit: Everett

If your toddler suddenly starts sounding like they’ve spent a year or two in England, there’s a chance it might be because of what they’re watching on TV.

Parents all over social media have begun bonding over what they’re describing as the “#PeppaEffect:” the phenomenon of non-British children developing an accent after watching perhaps a bit too much Peppa Pig.

“I just read an article about American parents saying that their children are developing a British accent because they’re watching Peppa Pig. I just have to say that it’s true. J still has her accent sometimes with certain words & I honestly love it. Lol,” one Twitter user wrote on Wednesday.

“It’s so true this #PeppaEffect,” another admitted. “I have [been] trying to teach my daughter hindi. She is 4yrs old. But she still is not able to make sentences in hindi but can speak English very well in British accent.”

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In a conversation with Romper, Dartmouth College language program director of the department of Spanish and Portuguese, Roberto Rey Agudo, said “exposure” has everything to do with the inflections parents are hearing in their children’s dialect.

Agudo says the upswing in reports of accent mimicry are “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.”

Romper also spoke with Dr. Emma Byrne — author of Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language — who pointed out that kids could be picking up on the positive parent attention surrounding the accent, which makes them want to keep using it.

“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 of the accent.

Peppa Pig
| Credit: Everett

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Even celebrity kids aren’t immune from the #PeppaEffect.

In October 2017, Savannah Guthrie told PEOPLE that her then-3-year-old daughter Vale had picked up the interesting verbal habit from her time watching Peppa Pig.

“For [son Charles “Charley” Max, now 2], we coordinate time of departure around his nap, and Vale watches Peppa Pig on repeat,” explained the Today show co-host of her road-trip strategy. “Of course she speaks with an English accent now.”