Monday, February 9, 2015

The Downside of Upspeak

So there's an interesting thing? It's called vocal fry or upspeak? There's another technical term for it but I'm sort of too lazy to find it right now? But basically it's this thing where every single declarative sentence is framed as a question? It sounds sort of like this? You've probably heard it before? Mostly from women?

My dad was pretty strict with me about upspeak? He kind of made me really self-conscious about it? He was sort of a "feminist" in some ways, whatever that means? My mother worked 24/7 and so he was sort of all about women getting ahead in the workplace? For better or worse? And anyway he told me never to use upspeak?

I did it a lot as a teenager? And he would correct me ALL the time, and tell me I would never be taken seriously if I ended every sentence as a question? Like if he asked me someone's name? And I said, "Melissa?" He would say, "I don't know, is it? You tell me!"

But now I am thinking he was wrong? And that upspeak is not really that bad after all? Because the tendency to use upspeak is so common? Especially on public radio and TV and on professional panels and such? And there are many successful women who seem to talk that way? And they all seem to be doing just fine?

So I am not judging it or saying it is bad, necessarily? But I can't get used to it somehow? And I find it very distracting? Like actually almost grating, even? Kind of like nails on a chalkboard?

And I wonder if that makes me old and stodgy and stuffy? Because I was listening to a very interesting NPR podcast tonight? And I couldn't really concentrate on the subject? Because the two female narrators, both of whom I believe are around my age or maybe a little older kept saying every other sentence as a question? Even sentences that were not actually questions?

I'm not sure if or when upspeak has gained a legitimacy that has escaped me? Or whether my reaction to it is old-fashioned? But I just have a really hard time focusing when someone is explaining things to me in a perky voice? A voice ends every sentence with a question? Like even if the subject is super interesting? I can't really focus on it because I am so distracted by the narrators' perky upspeak?

Do you know what I'm saying? (That was supposed to be a question).

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