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Wednesday, March 14, 2007  

English Lessons

I don't know how much Kipper M. Small gets to watch at day care, but I'm beginning to wonder if maybe it's too much. It seems to be turning him kind of British.

I first noticed it the other night at dinner. Obviously he's still of an age where not all of his food makes it into his mouth, but he's oddly possessive of what ends up in the floor, even though it's clearly far past his sphere of influence. So Strat comes sniffing around a few dropped mac & cheese noodles -- just out of curiosity more than out of any chance that he'll want to eat any -- and M. Small sees this happening and protests, "No, Straht! You cahn't take them!"

"Who is Straht?" I asked. He corrected his pronunciation, but it was too late. I was on to him. And I knew to start looking for other examples.

He's been saying "cahn't" a lot the past few days, but that's not all. He's also taken to saying "ready, steady, go," and, most damning of all, saying "biscuit" when he means "cookie." The alarming thing is that "cookie" was his first -- and, for months -- his only food word. And now he's thrown it over in favor of "biscuit." I shit you not, today he actually asked me, "Shall we have a biscuit, then?"

So my question is, how young is too young to start affecting a British accent? I don't remember how old Madonna was when she started, but I'm pretty sure she was over two and a half.

I know he'll grow out of it. But are we sure that we want him to? Maybe we should encourage this. Trash and I could start talking exclusively in horribly fake British accents in his presence. We could start plunking him down once in a while in front of BBC America in place of tapes of Curious George. Sure, the latter teaches him about math and science, but think of all the even better stuff he could learn from things like Hex and Footballers Wives.

When the day comes that he asks us to change his nappy, we'll know our work is done.

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posted by M. Giant 7:12 PM 9 comments


Fantastic! Kipper is adorable so he can't go far wrong there. Or plonk him in front of Doctor Who s1 and let him get a Mancunian accent to go with that cute smile and he'll be a heart breaker. Just, for pity's sake, don't let him watch 'Upstairs Downstairs' - he'll end up sounding constipated.

Libby, London (England)

By Blogger LB, at March 15, 2007 at 2:50 AM  

In our house, it was an Australian accent thanks to the Wiggles... our kiddo began asking for a "b'nahnah" and loved it when Daddy would beep the horn on his "big, red cahh" as he pulled out of the driveway to go to work each day.

Thank goodness our regional western NY accent has now taken over and flattened her vowels right back out again!

By Blogger Heather, at March 15, 2007 at 4:33 AM  

I'd take it even one step further, and have him watch ESPN's international soccer coverage, rugby matches, and cricket matches. Then he can be sporty with an English accent.

By Blogger Currer813, at March 15, 2007 at 4:41 AM  

We had a British nanny when I was a kid - my sister and I were old enough that it didn't rub off, but my baby brother was just learning to talk at the time, and he also started with 'lorries' and 'biscuits' and 'jumpers' and the long As in everything. So cute! It wears off quickly, though.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 15, 2007 at 4:55 AM  

That is ace! Why let your boy be some mong-faced old Colonial wanker, when he could be a smashing young lad? I say we pop down the pub and have a natter over a pint and some chips, and we'll suss out a right plan. His Bibs will be pulling tiny lil' birds left and right, won't he?

By Blogger Febrifuge, at March 15, 2007 at 8:17 AM  

Same thing happened at my house, although I don't think we progressed as far as biscuit. Lots of ready steady go. Too much Kipper and Changing Rooms and Ground Force. I kind of miss it now.

By Blogger BusiKier, at March 15, 2007 at 12:53 PM  

Oooh... try 'Charlie and Lola'-- awesome British cartoon that they're playing on the Disney Channel now. Their accents are awesome, and will perhaps reinforce the Britishness. When he says, "Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy", you know you have a limey on your hands...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 20, 2007 at 2:32 PM  

I was watching Kipper with my niece and Kipper was talking about his torch, which I'm sure you know he pronounces 'to-ch'. I spent about ten minutes trying to explain to a four year old that he was really saying 'torch' and it's just how the Brits say flashlight. Then, I spent another half an hour trying to explain the concept of other countries and accents to a Midwestern child who'd never been outside her state. In the end, I just agreed with her that he was clearly saying to-ch. Damn Kipper.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 21, 2007 at 12:07 PM  

I rarely suggest people take parenting advice from me. But, chicks dig boys with accents.

By Blogger Soul Kitten, at March 27, 2007 at 7:48 PM  

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