You talk just fine?

When teaching oral communications to my students, I don’t feel comfortable critiquing those who speak in “uptalk,” that habit of ending sentences with a rising inflection so that declarative sentences sometimes seem to sound like questions. To me that would be like asking people to change their maritime or southern accents: snobby and obnoxious.

At any rate, the folk at Language Log are on the case. It turns out that research has shown “uptalkers” up their talk earlier and higher in sentences when they are asking questions than when they are making statements.

That is, a good listener should be able to de-code uptalkers’ tones successfully.

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