Entertainment Parenting

How Is Peppa Pig Is Changing The Way American Kids Speak?

illustration of pigs in front of house

As an avid cartoon watcher myself, I have always been fascinated by how children can learn through cartoons. When it comes to their education, American babies are much more advanced than most babies. They constantly watch puppet shows and programs with other countries in them on TVs. Such as Britain’s CBeebies or America’s Sesame Street. But now, there’s a new obsession – Peppa Pig.

Who Is Peppa Pig?

These shows teach American adults and kids about other countries’ cultures and customs. In November 2018, American kids were introduced to a new show called Peppa Pig. The show had transferred from its original UK home to the United States.

pig illustration with red dress
Peppa Pig

Throughout the show, Peppa Pig and her family try to imitate “British” behaviors. They do activities such as going to church, sitting down for tea time, and watching amateur theater productions. The fact that they learn all these things from their babysitter in Britain, Miss Rabbit, is no coincidence. She pays weekly visits to her house and teaches them how to act like their Brit cousins.

Although Peppa Pig is a British cartoon character, she and her family are still cartoons. Cartoon characters can still learn about other cultures, even when they are from different countries. A New Yorker or an Oregonian creating her would not have been able to introduce her character to British culture with fictional British speakers. So the cartoon is doing a favor to parents by helping their children learn about other cultures.

Peppa Effect and Britishism

And not only that, but kids are also now speaking British English in the States. This is because shows like Peppa Pig help children and adults learn about other cultures by making their stories and characters aware of other countries’ cultures. When Peppa Pig says she is “gutted” as Miss Rabbit teaches her to say that, she isn’t being literal to British English, but she expresses the feeling of being gutted.

One American parent said, “My daughter has learned some British phrases after watching Peppa Pig. She also watches Sesame Street, and she sometimes uses British words that she learned from their characters. She says things like “rubbish” and “brilliant” as if they’re everyday American words. It’s adorable.”

Mary McIntosh, a professor of linguistics and anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington told Business Insider that these children’s programs really helped Americans learn about Britain. She said, “I think [America’s] kids are learning a lot about Britain from these sources. They’re very good sources. The vocabulary is pretty impressive for children’s television.”

Professor McIntosh also said that all of these things are happening because a British company, animated Peppa Pig and created this show for Britain’s broadcast channel. After the show became a success, the creators sold it to American broadcasters and now both countries enjoy the show together.

This is why I believe that Peppa Pig has helped Americans learn about Britain and British culture. It has made Americans more aware of other cultures and has made their kids more cultured when it comes to British English, even if it’s something as small as saying “rubbish” instead of “trash”.

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