Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Valley girl speak' extending to males

Date:
December 4, 2013
Source:
Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
Summary:
The American English speech variant known as uptalk, or "Valley Girl speak" – marked by a rise in pitch at the ends of sentences – is typically associated with young southern Californian females. New research shows uptalk is expanding to other demographic groups, including males.

The American English speech variant known as uptalk, or "Valley Girl speak" -- marked by a rise in pitch at the ends of sentences -- is typically associated with young southern Californian females. New research shows uptalk is expanding to other demographic groups, including males.

Related Articles


The new study is also the first to identify distinct melodic vocal patterns distinguishing an uptalk question from a statement -- a fuzzy area for non-uptalkers that leads to stereotypic parody of uptalkers as insecure, shallow or non-intellectual.

"We believe that uptalk is becoming more prevalent and systematic in its use for the younger generations in Southern California," says researcher Amanda Ritchart, a linguist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla. Ritchart will describe her team's work at the fall meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held Dec. 2-6, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif.

To investigate the use of uptalk, the researchers recorded the voices of about two dozen native southern Californians (about half male and half female) during several speech tasks, such as giving directions in a map navigation task or recounting what happened after watching a clip from a popular sitcom. The results showed that uptalk is a part of southern California English that transcends gender boundaries, and several other boundaries as well.

"Our sample only included undergraduate students ages 18-22, so we cannot say anything definitive about older southern Californians," Ritchart said. "But we found use of uptalk in all of our speakers, despite their diverse backgrounds in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, bilingualism and gender."

A major confusion for outsiders is whether it is possible to distinguish between "uptalked" statements and normal questions, but Ritchart's work identified a systematic pitch difference between the two: when the rise was used for a simple statement, it began significantly later in the utterance than when the rise was used for asking a question. However, said co-author and professor Amalia Arvaniti, this difference is so subtle that non-uptalkers typically miss it and assume a question is being asked when a statement is being given.

"Our study busts the stereotype associated with uptalk that those who speak uptalk actually ask questions instead of make statements, a tendency that is supposed to be linked to insecurity," Arvaniti said. "But native southern California speakers know the difference based on the exact location of the rise start, and the extent to which pitch changes in the rise."

A goal of the research, the authors said, is to fully understand this dialect development and what it means for global communication -- or miscommunication. "Imagine a teacher from the American Midwest moving to California and hearing students give a presentation using uptalk," Arvaniti said. "To the Midwesterner, the southern California speakers may sound tentative or even ditzy." Conversely, the lack of uptalk from their teacher may seem unfriendly to the students, thus impairing relationships and communication, she said.

The researchers say that as its use expands, greater awareness of the subtleties of uptalk will likely be an important part of achieving clearer global communication in many professions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Acoustical Society of America (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Acoustical Society of America (ASA). "'Valley girl speak' extending to males." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204130914.htm>.
Acoustical Society of America (ASA). (2013, December 4). 'Valley girl speak' extending to males. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204130914.htm
Acoustical Society of America (ASA). "'Valley girl speak' extending to males." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204130914.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins