Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Speaking with conviction

Uptalk (speaking so that every sentence ends with an interrogative tone so that it sounds like a question even when it's a statement) is a constant source of aggravation to me.

When I coach debating, stamping out uptalk and other related corrosive verbal ticks indicating uncertainty out of students is like waging war. I'm sorry to say that while girls are more prone to it than boys, I hear more and more boys falling into the pattern.

Uptalk has become so ingrained that it almost requires a complete personality transplant to extinguish it. And it must be extinguished, make no mistake about that.

It's bad enough that too many young people all the way through university speak this way, now you hear it in the media from politicians and other public figures. If they sound unsure of what they are saying, how are they supposed to convince us?

I shudder at the idea that uptalk might become standard usage but some researchers believe that might be so. That will make those people who do not uptalk all the more noticeable and notable; certainty and conviction in speech and thought will become the exception.

This short video from Taylor Mali says it all.

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