Uptalk again

Joan Houston Hall jdhall at FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Tue Feb 1 16:46:20 UTC 2000

Uptalk was characteristic of Southern speech long before it became part of
90s youthful patterns.

At 08:32 AM 2/1/2000 -0800, you wrote:
>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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