What Is Upspeak?


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Julii Brainard Profile
Julii Brainard answered
It's an intonation when you're saying something, such that it sounds like a question.

For instance, someone asks you directions and you say:

First you take a left up here?
Then you go along about 2 miles?
Then you take a right at the King's Head pub?

And so on.

In the United States upspeak came in with ValleySpeak (San Fernando Valley) in the early 1980s. Within Britain upspeak is generally considered an insidious American invention, but actually the British might want to look closer to home. In France or Spain a rising inflection at the end of sentences is sometimes part of the natural rhythm of the native languages.

It's derided as childish as best, but you have to wonder if it isn't a natural short-hand in the language. For instance, in the directions example given above, upspeak is being used as a shorthand for "Do you understand that okay?"

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