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.

Jenny Becker


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.

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR

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.

beth simon