The habit of ending statements with a stress that makes them sound a bit like questions is one that winds many people up investment immigration
Surveys have suggested bosses dislike it. Stephen Fry admitted on the TV show Room 101 that he hated it. Numerous older people have picked up numerous younger people on their use of it.
But the question of how even the UK was infected with this speech pattern has never been adequately answered.
Many people in California assume the pattern developed there.
In this theory, it developed first among young women in the San Fernando Valley. The Frank Zappa song Valley Girl, from 1982, is a musical testament to the phenomenon. Today the most notable proponents would be the likes of Paris Hilton, New York-born but a long-term resident of Los Angeles.
Paris Hilton holding microphone
Uptalk had been spotted even earlier, in 1975 by linguist Robin Lakoff, who wrote that "there is a peculiar sentence pattern… which has the form of a declarative answer to a question, and is used as such, but has the rising inflection typical of a yes-no question." But the actual term "uptalk"' wasn't used until a New York Times piece in 1993 .
But in the UK many people take it as a given that the speech pattern arrived from Australia, going so far as to dub it the Australian Question Intonation. Some laymen go even further and trace the shift in British speech patterns to the arrival of soap opera Neighbours on British television in 1986.
Suddenly, a whole generation of British children and young adults were simultaneously exposed to the upward inflection. So does this claim trump the California theory tutor
The problem is that trends in speech can be very hard to nail down. It isn't easy to even tell how the pattern developed in either the US or Australia, let alone how it was exported. Many New Zealanders would assert the pattern started there rather than in Australia, for instance.
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A New Yorker, an Australian, a man from Northern Ireland, an Argentine and a Californian each display their own brand of uptalk
"The short answer is no-one knows," says Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Until recently, recorded language "corpora" (bodies of words) didn't exist. Linguists often have to rely on written accountsalexander hera pre wedding