Guess Why American Toddlers Are Developing Bizarre British Accents

Kids across the globe are developing wee British accents after hours of watching Peppa Pig, the charming children’s show about a family of English pigs, in what parents are dubbing the #PeppaEffect. The craze, which is both adorable and befuddling, has prompted many parents to bond on Twitter over their children’s sudden affinity for “toe-mah-toes” and songs about baked beans.

“My child won’t stop talking with an accent ever since she started watching peppa pig ?????????” one Twitter user wrote.

“I’d like to thank Peppa Pig for the slight yet adorable British accent my toddler is acquiring,” another parent tweeted.

Other parents claim their children have started using British vernacular, using words like “mum,” “pound,” and “straightaway,” and requesting to go on “holiday.”

Some parents have even filmed their kids in action. Warning: The results are entirely too cute.

Peppa Pig first aired across the pond in 2004, but it didn’t make its way to the United States until 2011. Now, the cheeky series is available on Netflix, which is likely where many of these children are picking up their interest in kid-friendly British slang — and the occasional desire to oink in public.

Though it may seem odd that so many kids are greeting each other with words like “cheerio,” there’s no reason for parents to worry if the changes in speech continue for a prolonged period. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that people who imitate others may have higher levels of empathy than those who don’t. “Those who pay attention mimic more,” Tanya Chartrand, researcher and associate professor of psychology at Ohio University, concluded.

Of course, there’s no reason to believe that a child’s decision to mimic another accent will have any long-term effects. That is to say, there’s no evidence that proves watching a British show (or any series or film with a pronounced non-regional accent) will cause kids to permanently change their speech patterns. (This may be a relief to those who struggled to find “bangers” at their local grocery stores.)

In the meantime, parents can use this opportunity to teach kids about British history and explore some of the fascinating aspects of other cultures — chances are you already have a tea set handy.

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