Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 09:23:48 -0700
From: Peter McGraw pmcgraw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CALVIN.LINFIELD.EDU
Subject: Re: statements spoken as if it were a question
I don't know the origin of the statement with question intonation, but I
think some people may be barking up the wrong trEE?
If it originated in the South, it is certainly no longer restricted to the
South. It's certainly heard here in Oregon in recent years, and I've always
associated it with California. I'm not sure why - maybe because it's often
accompanied by other Californianisms, though I wouldn't swear to
this. The person I hear using it most is a male friend who has lived all
his life in Oregon and has no associations with either California or the
South. I have no idea where he picked it up.
If it's associated with Irish and/or Scottish speech, where was it all
those years between the time of early Irish and Scottish immigration to
Appalachia and the last 2-5 years? I don't remember hearing it any
earlier than that - certainly not during my years in Chattanooga
(1970-76). Also, the high end-of-sentence pitch so characteristic of some
Irish and Scottish speakers seems to me to have a different intonation
pattern: rising, then slightly falling, rather than the simple rise of
question intonation. The Irish/Scottish "lilt" has always seemed to me
quite distinct from the question pattern, though admittedly this might be
merely because my native dialect is American.