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Experts say Netflix's Baby Reindeer may cause this major change in the English language

Experts say Netflix's Baby Reindeer may cause this major change in the English language

The impacts of Netflix's Baby Reindeer are already evident in posts online

Language experts have explained how Netflix's hit show Baby Reindeer could change the way we speak - and it wouldn't be the first time.

It's been almost two months since the shocking story of Donny and Martha arrived on Netflix in April, captivating viewers as we watched their relationship grow and twist into something very sinister.

The series has only recently made its way out of Netflix's Top 10 list, but Tony Thorne, a language consultant at King’s College London, has suggested the impacts of the series could last long into the future.

Speaking to The Sun, Thorne explained that the show could spark the use of a new term in our language.

He said: "It’s not surprising if people take a current reference from news, pop culture or entertainment to use as slang."

Thorne used the term 'gaslighting' as one example of pop culture moments impacting our speech.

The term is now widely understood to refer to a form of psychological abuse which causes a person to question their sanity, memories, or perception of reality.

Baby Reindeer stars Richard Gadd as a fictionalised version of himself (Netflix)
Baby Reindeer stars Richard Gadd as a fictionalised version of himself (Netflix)

Most of us are probably familiar with the term, but Thorne pointed out that it stems from the title of a 1944 thriller movie titled Gaslight.

When it comes to Baby Reindeer, then, Thorne explained: “So it’s not a complete surprise if some people are announcing that they’ve been ‘baby reindeered’ if they feel - or more probably pretend - that they are being stalked.

"In fact I had already recorded ‘doing a Martha’ to describe an obsessive stalker’s activities several days ago."

Elizabeth Dunne, an English language and linguistics expert, agreed with Thorne as she explained how using terms derived from pop culture can be a shortcut to explaining complex ideas.

She said: "We use language to bond over shared concepts and understanding, and films and TV shows have been a huge global cultural phenomenon for the past 100 years or so, and consequently aspects of them have entered common parlance."

“We could easily see the same happen with ‘baby reindeered’.”

People are already using the term 'baby reindeered'. (X)
People are already using the term 'baby reindeered'. (X)

Examples of people using the term 'baby reindeered' are already popping up online, with one X user writing: "Yall ever been baby reindeered?"

Another shared their own story of accidental 'baby reindeering', writing: "I was waiting for someone outside The Merrion and randomly saw Dev Patel. We made eye contact and I thought we were having a ~moment~. Then he continued to keep a watchful eye and it became clear that he thought he was being Baby Reindeered."

However, while the show is already showing its impacts off screen, Thorne said it would be difficult to predict which pop culture phrases would remain in use into the future.

“These phrases may catch on and stay in the language, but many are soon forgotten and people coming across them in the future will be baffled by them: even expert linguists can’t be sure which will stick and which will disappear," he explained.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Netflix, Baby Reindeer, Social Media, Entertainment