Asked • 06/02/19

How can we distinguish "uptalk" from a real question?

**uptalk** or **high rising terminals** is an intonation pattern where declarative statements occur with yes/no question intonation. >"It is used when the speaker is establishing common ground with the listener as the basis for the conversation, and when the speaker is seeking silent affirmation or some factor that would otherwise require explanation before the conversation could continue." - - (*J.K.Chambers, Language Myths, Penguin Books, 1998.*) e.g. Our high-school class is doing an experiment on genetics? >Uptalk has spread to virtually all English speaking countries in the world and its uses have spread to contexts where the pragmatics are not quite so clear: e.g. "Hello, my name is Christopher?" I've never come into contact with someone who uses that pattern of speech. For this reason I ask: is it possible to distinguish uptalk from a real question or is the intonation used identical?

1 Expert Answer

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Elaine B. answered • 06/02/19

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