Uptalk again

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Tue Feb 1 16:32:03 UTC 2000

Awhile ago on this list there was considerable discussion of "uptalk," the
speech pattern in which question intonation is used in sentences that are
not questions.

I don't remember if the discussion ever addressed the issue of when this
phenomenon first arose.  On Sunday I saw a performance of William Inge's
play Bus Stop.  It's a 50s play, and the sets were clearly designed to
evoke that era.  But for me there was a glaring anachronism: the three
youngest members of the cast used "uptalk."  I didn't become aware of
uptalk until the 90s, and I'm fairly sure it wasn't around in the 50s--I
know I never heard it then.

Does anyone know when "uptalk" was first observed?

Peter Mc.

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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