End of ADS-L Digest - 22 Oct 1995 to 23 Oct 1995 ************************************************ There are 8 messages totalling 272 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. statements spoken as if it were a question (3) 2. English-southern style 3. skraw/skring (2) 4. y'all are crazy 5. LAGS query ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 00:32:39 -0400 From: SETH SKLAREY Subject: Re: statements spoken as if it were a question Reading Lynne's comments below brought to mind another form of affirmation, which I have found increasingly annoying, ya know what I mean? It seems to be most prevalent among New Yorkers and Afro-Americans, you get my drift? I was wondering where else it is turning up and whether the mass media, TV & movies might be to blame, see what I'm saying? Seth Sklarey Wittgenstein School of the Unwritten Word Coconut Grove, FL >> I noticed the same rising intonation for statements from several students >> during their seminar paper presentations last spring (both male and female), so >> I checked with a colleague who teaches several sections of public address, and >> she reports that it is quite common among both sexes. She argues that it occurs >> most frequently with students who are hesitant or lack confidence in their >> presentation (or perhaps a signal of deference), but I suspect that this is the >> effect rather than the cause. > >i catch myself doing this while lecturing. now, this is a time when >i know what i'm doing and am confident. but i think the reason why i >do it is to try to keep peoples' attention. the times i've caught >myself doing it, i've been lecturing here to (all female, in many >cases) undergraduates, who have no qualms about having their own >conversations while the lecture is going on. so i guess i'm trying >to grate on their nerves? or get them involved in what i'm saying? > >the fact that it's associated with women's speech reminds me of a >couple of things i've recently been lecturing on (so i'll subject >you to them too): > >women use "y'know" a lot more than men. (that is to say, american >women. "y'know" is here considered to be one of the most annoying >things that americans do in speech.) this would go with the >observation already made that the rising intonation is an attempt to >involve the audience in the spkr's statements by looking for (or >assuming) solidarity on the matter. > >perhaps this is related to women's question-asking habits. women ask >a lot more questions than men (i think it was fishman's study that >showed three times as many). but a lot of that question-asking isn't >so much information-seeking as conversational-ball-rolling. >furthermore, in mixed-sex conversations, women _have_ to ask >questions, because otherwise their topics are not picked up. in >fishman's study of couples, virtually all mens' topic introductions >are successful, vs. 36% for women. _but_ when women introduce topics >with questions, their success rate goes up to 72%. > >granted, this doesn't account for why people do whole monologues >"upspeaking" the end of every sentence, clause, and sometimes smaller >pieces. (e.g., "i was at the gap? at the mall?") but it does seem >to me to be a way of making sure that the audience is coming along >for the ride with you. > >then again, since the rising intonation may be associated with the >end of a turn, and since women expect (friendly) interruption and >positive minimal responses and the like, perhaps this rising is >offering places for such responses. > >most of the things i mention here are pretty related. sorry for the >stream-of-consciousness style. my self-editing skills are at an end- >of-the-day low. > >lynne > >--------------------------------------------------------------------- >M. Lynne Murphy 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]muse.arts.wits.ac.za >Department of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340 >University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-4199 >Johannesburg 2050 >SOUTH AFRICA > >