What’s up with people who raise the tone of their voice at the end of each sentence as if they are asking a question, when in fact, they are not? As time goes on, I have noticed that what started as a fade in California in the 1980-1990’s, is now here to stay. The use of uptalk usually isn’t deliberate. Most of the time, people don’t realize they’re doing it. So, when people use it, their purposes might be subconscious. They might use it to express uncertainty and weakness.
Would you believe there is an actual name for this affliction? Wikipedia has given a full page to what is called “High Rising Terminal.” Sounds more like a multi-level bus depot, but not to digress, here is the description: The high rising terminal (HRT), also known as moronic interrogative, uptalk, upspeak, rising inflection, unnecessary inflection, or high rising intonation (HRI), is a feature of some accents of English where statements have a rising intonation pattern in the final syllable or syllables of the utterance.
Most of the time when people talk like this, they also talk very fast. I never know if I should answer the question, but then, is it a question or not? I have noticed that many politicians, Hollywood celebs, news reporters, talk show hosts, teachers, business people, etc. have all acquired this unprofessional affliction. Could it be that it is catching? I can take it for a sentence or two but not much more than that. To attend a seminar, in person or on Zoom, is not only annoying but, indeed, very distracting when the facilitator uses uptalking. It is as irritating as nails on a chalkboard, if you know what I mean.
Along that same vein of annoyance, I want the word “like” to stop appearing in every sentence. There are people who “like, cannot say anything, like, without using the word like. If, like, you know what I mean!”
I guess I’m more aware of these annoying habits because I have had a radio show in the past, and have been doing podcasts for many years. Getting your point across on these broadcasts without having distractions is key.
If you have fallen into the habit of upspeaking, using words “you know” or “like” or “um” unnecessarily sprinkled throughout your comments when talking to “anyone,” record yourself and then play it back. If you are happy with the recording, so be it! If you are not, it just takes practice, practice and more practice, but putting in the effort is well worth it.