Date: Wed, 25 Oct 1995 08:47:06 -0400
From: "M. Lynne Murphy" 104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA
a lot of different things are being lumped together as "upspeak" in
this discussion--by southerners, valley girls, women generally, the
irish, scottish, australians, and in a post that beth simon just sent
me, old german american men. it also occurs to me that it's
something that kids do when they're excitedly telling a story--
upspeaking the ends of sentences until they get to the punchline
("and then the firetrucks came? and there was a firedog? and they
put the fire OUT!")
the whole phenomenon could also be linked to canadian "eh" and south
african "hey"--which are tagged onto the end of the sentence with
rising intonation. a sort of segmental version of upspeak.
but, i'm beginning to wonder--are these all the _same_ intonation
patterns? this question is pretty vague, and productively so:
- are they physically the same intonation patterns?
(and are they really the same as questions?)
- are they the same in their meanings/functions?
- are they the same in their genesis?
- is that genesis a matter of relation between the varieties
or is it a cognitive universal-type thing?
that not everyone upspeaks doesn't mean that its interpretation is
not universal, just that some (sub)cultures need it more than others.
(just like some folks smile more than others.)