By Timothy Fitzpatrick
October 16, 2014 Anno Domini
Uptalk—the form of speech generally perceived as emanating from the vocal chords of young, diffident girls, where the voice rises toward the end of a declarative statement—has crept into Western speech habits as a covert saboteur of logic-based thinking.
Uptalk, also known as “valley girl” speech (from California), upspeak, rising inflection, or high rising terminal (HRT), has become so common among English speakers that most are not even aware of why or when they do it. It’s that highly irritative sound you hear in declarative statements that are not meant to be stated in the form of a question but are. An example using a hypothetical interview with an eyewitness to a crime on a newscast would go something like this:
“We were, like, walking down the street (?)… when we heard this loud crashing sound (?)… and there was, like, blood everywhere (?)….
Unfortunately, young girls typically do not grow out of this speech pathology and, what’s worse, they tend infect everyone within their social sphere, even their parents, and even grown men.
Linguists tend to view this speech pathology as indicative of insecurity in the speaker, who subconsciously raises their intonation in order to seek approval of their unsure “declaration”. It is argued that women are more susceptible to this speech pathology, as they tend to be less aggressive in their speech habits.
Believe it or not, there are actually people who defend this pathology and call it the progressive evolution of speech. Uptalk, they argue, indicates empathy in the speaker and creates a more comfortable and relaxed speech environment. This, despite the fact that healthy and confident English speakers can be as empathetic as anyone and can be as easy to talk to as one’s best friend. And there is nothing inherently feminine about uptalk. Truly feminine speech should be pleasant and elegant. Even those unable to clinically recognize uptalk as speech pathology know that there is just something about it that is irritating and unpleasant. Uptalk is ugly. It not only makes the uptalker unattractive, it also makes them sound less unique, since it is so ubiquitous.
Another speech pathology that is commonly associated with uptalkers is the use of the submodifier/conjunction “so” at the beginning of a response to a direct question. One can often hear professionals, experts, even doctors, using this annoying little speech impediment in interviews, especially on shows on National Public Radio (NPR). Like uptalk, this error is believed to have originated in the Silicon Valley tech sector. It appears the use of “so” at the beginning of a response to a direct question indicates a belief of superiority of the speaker. Linguists see it as indicating that the interviewee believes he is superior to the interviewer, and thus uses “so” to detach himself from having to answer directly to the question. Instead of responding with “yes” or “no” and continuing to explain why, the interviewee will begin with “so” (detachment) and go on a bit of a diatribe before eventually getting around to answering the question. These speakers also tend to use “so” frequently, almost in response to every single question in a series, and even at the beginning of fresh, declarative sentences.
The above examples of speech pathology are by no means the only diseases plaguing the great English language and its speakers. There are many. One need only look at the prevalent form of communication today by subcultures (ghettoized Africna Americans), for example, or those communicating by the plethora of mobile techno junk to know how much real, effective, and beautiful communication has deteriorated. But uptalk has a dastardly unique characteristic to it. It appears to be re-engineering how we think.
The source of uptalk is uncertain. It is claimed to have originated everywhere from Silicon Valley tech executives to Australians and seemingly timid Canadians, though, it is certain that it is not very old. It seems to have emerged right alongside the counter-culture revolution that began in the 1950s and ‘60s in the English-speaking world. The diffident nature of uptalk pseudo-statements seems to reveal that the speaker is unsure of basic facts and logic and therefore is caught up in some kind of subjectivist underworld of the dead. Columnist Hank Davis writes, in The Uptalk Epidemic,
“It’s a nasty habit. It is the very opposite of confidence or assertiveness. It’s gotten all out of control. These days, even statements about which there should be no question or doubt are presented in this tentative, timid and deferential manner. Here’s an example. I teach a 4th year university course in which part of the requirement is a seminar presentation. Students used to stand up and share the results of their research in a way that conveyed their confidence and knowledge. They no longer do. Even if they do feel confident, their culture now mandates that they dial it back and sound like this:
My name is Jennifer? My seminar today is on bystander apathy? There is quite a bit of research on this topic?”
“Why all the questions, Jennifer? Just what is at issue here? Are you not sure of your name? Are you willing to change it if we don’t nod our approval? Why are you unsure of your seminar topic? Does that, too, require our approval?… I think we have an answer to that question. Making a declarative statement is no longer OK. It is not socially acceptable for a 21 year old woman to stand before an audience and tell us her name or what she knows without turning into a shy little girl whose statements are questions or pleas for consensus.”
The speech trend of uptalk is a social engineer’s dream come true. Instead of the brutish, laborious method of forcing a subject to accept a particular ideology, simply get the subject to believe this ideology was arrived at on his own by getting him to think and talk in subjectivist form. After all, how can anything be for certain when one cannot simply state anything with certainty? Now the subject is ripe for social engineering by elites who know for certain in which direction they want to guide us.
So it follows that uptalk has arrived on the scene simultaneously with the surge of socially engineered public education, particularly that advanced by the United Nations Agenda 21, Common Core initiative. Common Core re-education is fairly obvious collectivist, secular humanist propaganda, designed to rip out from the minds of the youth any concept of God, country, family, or any shred of high scholastic logic (in Common Core mathematics, for example, 2+2 does not necessarily equal 4, they claim). Are social engineers also attempting to emasculate men with uptalk or is this all merely “progressivism”? It’s more common to encounter women who are unsure of themselves than men. Men are natural leaders, and even when they are unsure of themselves, they tend to behave and speak as if they are. For men, real men, uptalk is a direct path to emasculation—and with it, patriarchal Christian mores. For women, uptalk instills in them a false sense of feminine speech. For both sexes, uptalk is anti-logic, counter intuitive, and rewires their brains to think in subjectivist terms.
The phenomenon of uptalk may not be the direct work of social engineers, but it certainly appears to be the devil child of the counter-culture revolution of the 1960s and beyond, perhaps stretching back to the anti-classicism of the Enlightenment saboteurs.
I have not encountered uptalk recently. Several years ago, I would observe young women using the word “like” like every other word. I never heard anyone speak valley girl talk except on TV.
However, speech manerisms and habits are definitely learned and are definitely part of social engineering. Of course, education starting at youngest ages is the most fertile ground for social engineering, but every aspect of our lives is being socially engineered.
Young women are being trained to be bubble brained in the content of their social speech with their peers. They focus of items of fashion and baubles and gossip. This, of course, leads more to guys objectifying women and calling them “chicks” or other degrading terms.
And all of this leads to enmity between men and women, the feminism goal of the social engineers. (Bella Abzug, Bettty Friedan, and CIA agent Gloria Steinem) This was brought to Western civilization beginning in the late 1930s by the Frankfurt School, Jewish scholars who were first kicked out of Russia and then kicked out of Germany. They brought a new kind of Marxism combined with Freudianism. The goal was to break up the family and eradicate the male-female differences and most importantly, to stamp out traditional Christian beliefs.
All of this “social engineered” speech fads and patterns is part of the total destruction of Christian society. It is to mold and manipulate and prevent people from thinking logically or thinking at all.
I am very sensitive to the various kinds of manipulative speech as I was a victim of it attending various meetings and training sessions over the years of my employment for the state government. I think trying to persuade or convince someone, by one’s speech, is fine but the content must be right and true and wise.
Real teaching conveys strong logical information in a clear logical manner. We do not have real teaching and communication by our teachers in schools anymore. John Dewey and others wiped all of that in the USA early on.
“and the light shines on in the darkness and darkness could not overcome it.” John 1:5
Did you ever notice that almost all evangelical pastors use the exact same intonation and speech patterns. Their inflection rates are off the chart throughout their entire performances.
Social phenomena, such as gender roles, evolve organically based on various factors – e.g. women were able to work outside the home more as labour-saving devices became available, otherwise taking care of children and a house was simply too labour-intensive.
I believe that the social engineers have tried to fool us into thinking that ideas that are labeled progressive are simply the natural organic outcome of social evolution when in fact they have hijacked these phenomena in and steered it in their desired direction. For example, Gloria Steinem was purported to be a CIA agent who accelerated certain ideas within feminism. Having the support of a such a well-organized and financed organization behind you is hardly an organic change. Now people think that it is normal to have such rapid social change. Think about the amount of pornography that is freely available. The social engineers have accelerated the pace of change artificially in order to advance their agenda.
Finally, the article I have been waiting for about speech pathology. Thank you! I find this way of speaking so obnoxious, I turn off any media it is issuing from (thankfully, I don’t associate with people who speak like this). I refuse to buy products that use this accent in their advertising. It makes the speaker come across as an idiot. I associate this type of speech with tattoos and multi-colored hair…both which indicate to me a person so devoid of individuality and authenticity that they must ape those that surround themselves, just to have a personality.
What I find very, very disturbing, is that this speech, which once only was spoken only by teenage girls, is now common in all Americans. I have gotten so that the only English I can listen to without vomiting, is English spoken with a foreign accent.
I totally agree, Kris. I also turn off any media of persons uptalking or using vocal fry. I cannot stand it. Even if it’s such an important message that I have to tolerate the pathological speech, I find myself distracted the entire time, which defeats the whole purpose of listening. Instead of listening to the message, I can’t help but focus on how ridiculous they sound. So, it’s best to just stop listening altogether. Why waste time?
There are a bunch more annoying speech habits Westerners use that I could go on about, like the excessive and inappropriate use of: “so” (in place of “well”), “having said that”, “that said”, “it’s literally”, “it is what it is”, to name a few.
I agree with your preference for British speech over largely uptalked North American or Aussie speech. It’s funny. Sometimes I will listen to foreigners speaking in their native tongues and try to see if they uptalk. They don’t do it, but when these same foreigners speak in English, they revert to uptalked English. They are training foreigners this way. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to this highly obnoxious devolution of English speech.