Why I think today’s children are accent-prone

Three children and a superimposed speech bubble saying "Accent prone".

I was interested to learn recently that parents in the USA seem to be as sick of Peppa Pig as a lot of us over here are. Their gripes are quite different to mine though.

To be fair, most people will differ from me, as I have a complete manifesto against the anthropomorphic pig. I don’t like the brattish behaviour she seems to inspire.

I hate the glorification of puddle jumping. Nor am I a fan of the portrayal of dads as feckless figures of fun.

I also think it gives children unrealistic expectations of everything from basic physics to how easy it is to get an appointment with a GP.

Perhaps I’ve thought about it too much, but I have been exposed to it for eight and a half years.

The complaint of mums and dads across the pond seems to be one of accent. I can sympathise with this, with one caveat.

There is no such thing as a ‘British accent’. It’s impossible to be simultaneously English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish.

I do think Peppa Pig would be a lot more entertaining if every word were uttered in a different accent though. I digress.

Back to my empathy with the plight of Peppa-pestered parents from the States and I know how irritating it is.

Because we get precisely the same thing with our kids adopting their rather iffy approximation of transatlantic accents.

I love accents but it is grating when your children permanently speak in one that isn’t your own. Whenever they play together, for example, both of my sons still communicate in a not-quite-American drawl.

I’m pretty sure I never did the same as a child, but perhaps this isn’t surprising. We only had four TV channels back then. What’s more, children’s TV was only on for a few hours each day at most.

We didn’t have much in the way of video games either. Certainly not with audio anyway. I remember being blown away by the first ‘talkie’ I played in the mid-1990s.

An oft-cited criticism of technology is that it isn’t all progress. For the most part, I disagree with that but have to concede that this is one downside.

This is something I’ve written about before and concluded somewhat flippantly that we had it coming as oldest was born on Independence Day.

As it happens, Thanksgiving fell on youngest’s birthday last year. But their brother’s birthday has nothing to do with American public holidays and two events make a line, not a pattern.

So I’m exonerating us of blame and pointing the finger at the progress of technology. Specifically the makers of cartoons, games and movies.

Sorry, sorry. Films.

Do your kids speak in accents they’ve picked up from TV? Does it bother you?

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