What is upspeak?

By Ashley | Uncategorized

Mar 07

NEW VIDEO: What is upspeak?

Do you know what upspeak is? Do you use it? Should you use it in a standard southern British English accent? These are the questions I'm going to answer below.

What is upspeak?

Upspeak, also known as high rising terminal, uptalk, rising inflection or high rising intonation, is the use of a rising intonation at the end of declarative sentences. So essentially, it makes statements sound like questions.

Various accents use variations of upspeak: a New Yorker, an Australian, a speaker from Northern Ireland, an Argentine and a Californian.

Where did upspeak come from?

One hypothesis is that it originates from the influence of Scandinavian intonation patterns on England, Ireland and Scotland from the 9th Century. A more recent idea is that it spread from the 'valley girl' accent of Los Angeles from the later 80's.

Should you use it?

Whatever its roots, it's a contentious subject amount modern speakers, especially in the workplace, as some feel that it may hinder your career (according to an article published by Forbes).

It suggests that using upspeak can make you sound unsure of yourself (because it makes everything you say sound like a question).

Although a lot of younger speakers use upspeak, so it is certainly part of the way that some native speakers speak English these days.

But, I think it's fair to say that the majority of native standard southern British English speakers do not use upspeak.

You can make up your own mind.

When do native speaker's use upward inflection?

What is true, is that native British English speakers tend to reserve upward inflection for lists and questions. Watch the video above to have a listen and copy what I do.

Do you want to start working on your pronunciation? Click on any of the free training resources below to get you started:

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