Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 13:50:43 -0400 From: Merri Lisa Johnson Subject: Re: statements spoken as if it were a question On Mon, 23 Oct 1995, M. Lynne Murphy wrote: > > 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? > > > > 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. > > lynne > > --------------------------------------------------------------------- > M. Lynne Murphy 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > Department of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340 > University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-4199 > Johannesburg 2050 > SOUTH AFRICA > I am so glad to see this response to the upspeak debate. My main experience with upspeak took place in the classroom as well, but I was the student. My teacher's use of that style intrigued me and had just the effects that Lynne imagines in her class. I felt engaged by the upspeak, as if the lecture were much more like a conversation than most lectures and as if my teacher maintained constant care and attention to our needs as listeners. I don't like the idea that upspeak is related to women or Southerners (by the way, I am a woman and a Southerner) because it attributes what seems to me to be a useful and responsive style to more negative causes (insecurity, even incompetence). I know that disliking a set of possible causes is no valid reason for discounting them, but again, I'm really glad to see (for the first time) another person's response to upspeak as positive and not necessarily gender- or region-oriented. Does anyone else either feel uncomfortable with the gender- and region-oriented explanations or find the responsive speaker hypothesis to be valid? Lisa Ohio University