Upspeak – the unstoppable rise of rising intonation.
You may have noticed that some English speakers use a rising tone on a statement. It almost sounds like a question?
This is commonly known as ‘upspeak’ or ‘uptalk’, and it’s controversial. Growing in popularity since the invasion of Australian and American TV in the 80s and 90s, it has become a natural part of the way many people of all ages speak, particularly younger speakers. But some people hate it, claiming not only that it’s annoying, but that it hurts your career – can an intonation pattern hold such power? Let’s get to the bottom of this… ↗phenomenon.
What does upspeak sound like?
Quite simply, it is a rising intonation pattern on a statement. Have a listen (firstly with upspeak, secondly without).
I don’t like coffee.
The weather’s really horrible today.
I can’t come because my car’s in the garage.
This article uses English IPA symbols – learn each of them with pronunciation notes, diagrams and audio in Pronunciation Studio’s free Starter Pack.