Tuesday, March 3, 1998 at 08:36:42
When you do something on "Why do people sound like
they're asking a question when they're actually making a statement?", then let me
know. I'd like to feature it on my site.
An example of a ditzy blonde college student would be... "Um, my paper is about the need for recycling on our campus? I think that it's, like, very important to recycle because it's better for the environment? It also cuts down on, like, litter 'n stuff?"
That really bugs me.
The rising intonation that you note in some people's speech at the end of many statements is not necessarily a question and is in fact a very common occurrence in some native English dialects. I know that I have heard such intonation patterns from (some) Canadians, and Australians. However, it may also have a sociolinguistic origin in that the speaker is constantly looking for feedback--making sure the listener is actually attending to what is being said. Members of speech communities that reserve the rising intonation more for questions may find the speech of those who freely use such intonation irritating. However, the latter speakers may also find the speech of the former overly forceful or even rude. In this regard, the door swings both ways...?
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