gender studies

Uptalk Is for Everyone, at Least in California

Photo: Jordan Siemens/Corbis

Despite previous associations with ritzy, ditzy girls, uptalk — that thing where sentences end with an upward intonation, like they’re a question? — knows no gender bounds. A recent study of Southern California college students found that more young men are similarly ending their sentences with a slight rise in pitch.

The study examined twelve women and twelve men, all native Southern Californians. They were asked to read map directions and describe events from a TV show. The men and the women ended their statements with a high-rising terminal — that’s linguistic-speak for uptalk. University of California, San Diego linguist Amanda Ritchart, who will present her study next week at the annual conference of the Acoustical Society of America, said: 

We believe that uptalk is becoming more prevalent and systematic in its use for the younger generations in Southern California. We found use of uptalk in all of our speakers, despite their diverse backgrounds, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, bilingualism and gender.

Southern California, land of gender-equal vocal ascension.

Uptalk Is for Everyone, at Least in California