Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 21:01:51 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: statements spoken as if it were a question Benjamin Barrett wonders, >>Am I missing something, not knowing much about Southern speech? >> >>Using a rising tone at the end of a sentence to make a question is a very >>common form of question in English at large. which Natalie points out, >I thought we were talking about using question intonation in statements >-- >e.g., I went to the movies last nIGHT. I saw this great movIE. (caps= >rising pitch). Alternately put (since after all, Benjamin's examples--e.g. "You're going?"-- have the SYNTACTIC form of statements), we're talking about speaker's intention: to make a statement without appearing too "assertive", rather than to ask the hearer for information that the hearer is a better position than the speaker to provide. This is the phenomenon popularly called "Upspeak" or "Uptalk", or rather "Upspeak?" I think Robin Lakoff, in her _Language and Woman's Place_ (Harper & Row, 1974) was the first to suggest upspeak as a stylistic characteristic of women's speech, but she's been followed by dozens of writers on language and gender who have either supported or challenged her generalization, including some who have ascribed the tendency to "powerless" style as opposed to "women's style". Most of the writing in this domain leaves the regional issue untouched. (There's also a paper in a recent Journal of Pragmatics by Julia Hirschberg and Gregory Ward on some of the formal properties of upspeak, including a representation of the phonetics. Less formally, there have many treatments in the popular press, including Bill Safire and various op-ed writers in the New York Times, and a great satirical piece that someone posted to us on this list a couple of months back.) Larry