Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 10:50:37 +0000
From: Jenny Becker beckerj[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]OMRI.CZ
Subject: Re: upspeak in German
While I've never heard "upspeak" in standard German, there is at least one
dialect (Schwabisch) in which people tend to put the word "oder" (or), with
an upward intonation, at the end of statements - sort of the equivalent of
saying "isn't that right?" after a sentence. I knew one guy when I studied
in Germany who used it at the end of almost every sentence - much to the
amusement of Germans from other regions.
beckerj[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]omri.cz
If Germans use "upspeak" intonation, it's either idiolectal or as new as
it is in AE. Standard German intonation uses that pattern only for
questions. If there's a dialect which uses it in statements, I'm unaware
of it. I don't recall hearing it anywhere but in questions from my
colleagues at the German Information Center in New York, where I worked
for six years in the mid- to late 80s, or from the Dane County, Wisconsin,
Germans who served as informants for my dissertation in the late 60s.
On Wed, 25 Oct 1995, Beth Lee Simon wrote:
I want to clarify a couple of points from a post I sent privately to
Lynne. I reported to her an observation made to me by a resident of a
small town in WI that was primarily German settlement. My "informant"
while discussing "upspeak" noted that he had heard it all his life from
what he called "the men in front of the bank," retired and what he called
"old" and "tired" men who sat on the benches, talking to each other
and commenting on life and the twon. This person's descriptives were
"old" "male" "German" and "suffocated and hence willing to suffocate".
I then mentioned to Lynne that I had been wondering about German
sentence intonation in relation to this.