amnah_zuky By amnah_zuky, 5th Feb 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Kids

this is about language stereotypes on television for kids.

Language Stereotypes on Television

TV cartoons are one of the entertainments from generation to generation. It is very popular among both kids and adult to occupy their free time or relief stress. Basically, variety cartoon series has different characters which make them differ from other. There are some cartoon series that contains stereotypes in it which may influence children such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Frog. These happy ending stories may manipulate children’s mind because of the magic’s power and fairies. Some cartoons may influence children because of the difference in grammar, pronunciation, accent and pleasure viewing.
In the early childhood, children will adapt the way of speaking or language from their environment. Watching cartoon series is one of the routine for them to occupy their time. Even some parents will also let their children to watch cartoons while they do their jobs since TV cartoons will become one of the ways for children to learn language. Unfortunately, some characters in cartoon may use wrong grammar. According to Mayopie (2010), Speedy Gonzalez from the Looney Tunes’ cartoon is one of the examples that using bad grammar. In the series, Speedy Gonzalez is the fastest mouse in Mexico. ‘There are some stereotypes towards Mexican when the characters in this series wear cowboy looking hats and have worn out clothing. They speak bad English with mix of English and Spanish (Mayopie, 2010)’. By watching these, some may follow the bad examples of grammar and some possibly will think that all Mexican are poor as the way of their clothes show in that manner.
In addition, pronunciation is important to understand what is said by the character unless there is a subtitle. Sometimes, the cartoon characters pronounce according to their accent to suit with their roles. It can bring whether a positive or negative value of judgements depends on the audiences. There are some characters that use different accent from the Standard English that manipulate children by their pronounciations. For an example, ‘Bart’s speech in The Simpsons is voiced in a Cockney accent such as the spelling 'loverely' is designed to indicate and the rather old-fashioned slang terms 'noggin' and 'peepers'’ (Armstrong, 2001). Cockney accent still use English but it is vary in term of accent and dialect. The viewers who watch The Simpsons may have negative impression towards the people who use that accent since Bart’s character is a naughty and disrespect child.

Language Stereotypes on Television 2

I agree with Eric Wenke (1998) that accent could lead children to form a group that have the same traits together. It is possible because they are regarding the cartoon characters as their example in judging someone, perhaps through their appearances, accents and slangs. They may think that people in real life are bad as all protagonists’ characters in cartoons that are using the same accent because they convey the negative norm values to kids. Therefore, they over generalised that they should avoid people who speak the same accent. Moreover, Wenke also strengthen his opinion through Honey’s statement:
"The most commonly proposed motivation has to do with the equation linking standard accents (and dialects) with status as a function of power (political and economic) and nonstandard ones with solidarity with a local community or with a low social class, insofar as they show friendliness, kindheartedness, etc. as stereotypical for nonstandard accent speakers." (Honey, 1997)
According to Hetherington (1997), ‘during 1990s, The Simpsons is shifted from all ages to ages 12 and older because of the mature story lines’. Even though this series is more on a family comedy, but, the content in the series is inappropriate for the kids. I am totally agreed with this action because the way of kids’ thinking is not the same as adults, as their brain’s maturity could not differentiate well with the content of the cartoon series. Moreover, adults have more experiences than kids relating the issues of crimes, sex, harsh or taboo words, etc. Hence, kids are usually making their own assumptions easily since they do not have enough knowledge and experiences like adults. They are also in a learning stage and trying to learn more about language. Thus, they may take all words either it is positive or negative from what they observed through their surrounding including TV cartoons.

Language Stereotypes on Television 3

In addition, for those people who are not very fortunate or get a chance to go and experience others culture possibly will make their own judgement based on what they see on television especially through cartoon series. They cannot compare the real examples with the one that they watch on the cartoon series. That is why; it is unfair for certain people who speak with different accents or dialects are misjudged. It is also unreasonable for low-class people in society who pronounces words according to their origin are being seen as people who are not well-educated.
In a conclusion, it is true that cartoon is one of the ways to entertain ourselves especially for kids. Every parents or adults should control what they should see and what is not. Basically, kids love to copy or assume something since they are young. They could not differentiate well whether it is good or bad to practice in daily life. For an example, they may think cartoon violence or bad words which seem funny as a good example or trends for them to follow. Thus, as a responsible adult, we must try to correct them by telling that not all words are good to be followed from the cartoon series regardless of the cultures that represent by the cartoons’ characters. We should also remind ourselves to not accept only what we see or know. It is appropriate for us to explore and make some research about others rather than judging them without a trusted source.

Language Stereotypes on Television (reference)

1. Armstrong, N. (2012). Voicing 'The Simpsons' from English into French: a story of
variable success. Retrieved from
2. Cockney Slang!. (2010, Jan 29). Retrieved from
3. Denham. K., & Lobeck. A. (2010). Linguistics for everyone: An introduction (2nd ed.).
United Stated: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
4. Hetherington, Janet L. (1997, September). As Mainframe's technology reaches
adolescence, there's a 'ReBoot' Renaissance. Animation Magazine, Vol. 11, 59.
5. Mayopie. (2010). Old Looney Tunes: Are They Really For Our Children?. Retrieved
6. Wenke, E. (1998). Accents in children's animated featiures as a device for teaching
children to ethnocentrically discriminate. Retrieved from


Cartoon, Cartoon Characters, Cartoons, Cartoons Characters, Children, Kids, Stereotypes, Tv And Cartoon, Tv Guide, Tv Show, Tv Violence

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author avatar amnah_zuky
i would like to share something i have with others...^^

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