Long-Term Implications of Accent Representation in Children’s Media

Roni Grushkevich, Claire Lim, Kendall Vanderwouw, Daniel Zhou

Who is the most memorable villain you remember from your childhood era? We hypothesize that most individuals will remember a villain portrayed with a heavy accent. This is due to the phenomenon of othering and the idea that children will have a hard time connecting with a character that sounds different from them and the standard variety. We will use the childhood show, Phineas and Ferb, to see if this is true. Through the conduction of a survey, analyzing voice recordings in Praat, and doing sound analysis from an episode of Phineas and Ferb we will be able to see the phenomenon of othering. In Praat, we proved this phenomenon by showing that Dr. Doofenshmirtz, the antagonist, has a lower /æ/ F1 formant than Phineas and a native American English speaker. Additionally, analyzing the Hail Doofania episode, we were able to prove that Doofenshmirtz pronounced 6 sounds differently from a native American English speaker. All this proves the idea that villains are portrayed differently with negative attributes on children’s TV shows.

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