That thing kids do? Where they seem to put a question mark at the end of every sentence? It has a name!


Maybe everyone else but me knows this?  Apparently it’s a phenomenon studied in organizations like the Acoustical Society of America?  This report seems to suggest that it’s still predominantly a Southern California thing:

Uptalk is looking more and more like part of a widespread Southern Californian dialect. To avoid misunderstandings, it may be wise to accept that. Amanda Ritchart, who admits to some uptalking herself, says that when Southern Californians speak to outsiders, they may “come across as ditzy or stupid or maybe unassertive or timid or something.” But, she says, “Because everyone does it, obviously that’s not true. And that’s why it kind of helps to break those stereotypes. We’re not confused. We’re not stupid. We just talk like that.”

From my East Coast vantage point, uptalk occurs more in women than men, more in the young than the old, but it’s hardly confined to people from Southern California.

The researcher also made this interesting point:

Ritchart’s research also identified a clear difference in tone between when a So Cal English speaker asks a question or makes a statement, even though both have a rise at the end. The rise in a statement comes later than the rise for a question. Though you might not catch that as an outsider, its clear to another uptalker.

Well, if you say so.  As I mentioned before, sometimes an uptalker needs to add the words “question mark” at the end of a sentence to clarify her meaning.  For which I’m grateful?

h/t Jeff

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