Date: Mon, 8 Jul 1996 15:33:45 -0400
From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM
Subject: Semi-early "uptalk" citation
I encountered a passage which I thought could
be of interest to some ADS-L'ers. I'm not sure
who's doing research on "uptalk," but if anyone
knows someone, feel free to send this along.
I was recently reading John A. Williams' novel
_The Angry Ones,_ first published in 1960 although
written in the period 1956-60. Williams is a black
writer who became a professor of English at
Rutgers; this is his first novel. The passage
struck me because it seems rather early (although
Joan Hall of DARE tells me that the uptalk
phenomenon is well known as a Southernism for
some time); because the speaker is a man; and
because the "uptalk" is explicitly discussed in
This passage is chapter 15; it's found on page
118 of the 1996 Norton reprint of the book in
their Old School Books line. Both speakers in
this exchange are white men; the narrator is a
black man. The uptalking speaker is identified
as a farmer from the Mississippi Delta.
---------------- begin included text --------------
"Confidentially," he said, "it took all my
savings--and you know what happened the last time I
"Yes?" Rollie said. He didn't bat an eyelash.
"I went to see my brother so I could go
ahead plannin' things for next year if I got some
money from him?"
Southerners have a way of making statments
sound like questions.
---------------- end included text ---------------
Hope this is useful/of interest.
Random House Reference
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com