Date: Mon, 8 Jul 1996 15:57:26 PDT

From: Duane Campbell dcamp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]EPIX.NET

Subject: Re: Semi-early "uptalk" citation

--- On Mon, 8 Jul 1996 15:33:45 -0400 Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM


I was recently reading John A. Williams' novel

_The Angry Ones,_ first published in 1960

I can take it back a bit earlier. When I was a child, maybe 8 or 10 which

would be the late 40's or early 50's, I had a playmate who used "uptalk"

habitually. He was unique -- it was not a family or group pattern. He was very

shy, and I took it to be a form of asking for reinforcement (validation hadn't

yet been invented). There have often been terminal words that have the same

effect: "right?", "ya' know?", "nu?", "Nicht war?", "N'c'est pas?" the word

has dropped, but the inflection remains.

Relating to the shyness of my friend, I note that there is sometimes (but not

always) a power component a la Deborah Tannen. Listening to the puzzles on NPR

on Sunday mornings, Inotice that while men always answer in the affirmative,

women often give the correct answer in a question form: "Is it .....?"

Duane Campbell


In the beginning the Earth was without form and void.

Why didn't they leave well enough alone?