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[personal profile] rhu
When I was in college, one of my acquaintances had the practice of ending every declarative sentence with a rising inflection. I was told by a mutual friend that his parents, both psychologists, had experimented when he was a child by speaking to him that way, and poor soul, he was never able to break the habit.

I am now hearing this more and more in general society. My daughter has picked it up, I think from school. I heard it on an NPR report on Monday. I've started to notice several of my friends doing it. I even caught myself doing it the other day.

My hypothesis is that this is the ultimate fate of ending every sentence with "y'know?" I think that the speaker wants to make sure that the listener is following and doesn't disagree. Back in the 1980s, lots of people would use the interrogative "y'know?" at the end of sentences to provide that opportunity to check in, but now it seems to be done with just intonation.

But I have to say? This drives me nuts?

Y'know?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-21 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 42itous.livejournal.com
I know, right?!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-21 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chanaleh.livejournal.com
You're not wrong. This linguistic phenomenon is called the "final rise" or, colloquially, "uptalk".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal

(As for the semantic significance, I'm inclined to agree with you? But there's no hard statistical evidence? That I know of?)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-23 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeffurrynpl.livejournal.com
Paul and I laugh about this often. We will flee a store if a clerk starts doing it to us and we had a good laugh or two at the Chocolate Show about it.

"This is chocolate? From Syria? With pink peppercorns?"

Are you asking me or telling me?

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-26 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vettecat.livejournal.com
Absolutely. I've been noticing this increasing steadily since the 80s. Maddening.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-27 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kirisutogomen.livejournal.com
I thought you were a regular reader of Language Log? Mark Liberman has been discussing this since 2006 or so? He's been making the same joke everyone else here is making for, like, years now?

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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013

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