In Britain, we have the “pingdemic”. Over in the US, parents are dealing with another pandemic blight: the “Peppa Effect”.
Young children across the pond have begun speaking with “an unusual vocabulary and a British accent” after binge-watching Peppa Pig during lockdown, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The British cartoon has become even more popular as working parents installed their offspring in front of the television to keep them entertained.
One nursery-age child “stunned” her parents when she addressed her mother in a “polished British accent” and said: “Mummy, are you going to the optician?” Her parents had always used the phrase “eye doctor”.
“We were like, ‘The what?’” said Matias Cavallin, her father. “That’s like a college-level word.”
His daughter, Dani, also refers to a “petrol station” rather than a gas station, and “biscuits” instead of cookies.
The newspaper said parents now speak of the Peppa Effect which includes the use of “cheeky Britishisms”.
Santa Claus? No, it’s Father Christmas
Peppa Pig was second only to SpongeBob SquarePants as the world’s most-watched children’s cartoon in the 12 months to March 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal. Over the course of the year, it jumped from 103rd to 50th most in-demand show overall.
Another child mentioned in the article, six-year-old Aurelia, reconfigured the family’s Christmas celebrations to include mince pies, paper crowns and “Father Christmas” as a replacement for Santa Claus.
Other phrases which have seeped into children’s vocabulary thanks to the show include “telly” for television and “power cut” for power outage.
One parent said that her four-year-old daughter had learned manners by watching Peppa. “She says ‘lovely’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ all the time,” she said.
Entertainment One, makers of Peppa Pig, said: “Young Peppa fans see her as a friend… and, as we do with friends that we admire, pick up some of their characteristics. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”