Wednesday, 7th May 2014

by Joshua Gaskell

The phenomenon of uptalk or the high rising terminal (a.k.a. Totally Inquisitive Tone Syndrome) is often described as the tendency to ‘go up at the end of a sentence’. Indeed, ODO defines uptalk as, ‘A manner of speaking in which declarative sentences are uttered with rising intonation at the end, as if they were questions.’ However, I think symptoms of the syndrome have become more serious than this. If one listens carefully to a young person, it’s now possible to detect a rising tone not just at terminals, but at the “sentence-internal” pauses between clauses. How long before uptalk is the tendency to ‘go up at the end of a word’?