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INFLECTION RISING

8 January, 2012

There seems to be an unending supply of declarative faux pas in sheep factor American English.  One fad, rather long-lasting at that, is ending declarative sentences with a rising inflection in the voice.  Sometimes the speaker gets a bit of redemption when the final utterance in a series of same at least is given the emphasis of a downward inflection.

I hasten to point out that, because it sounds so tentative (not to mention annoying as a language fad), it is especially poisonous for women.  The lack of an emphatic inflection in statements sounds to the ear like an implied question:  “I’m right, aren’t I,” or “I’m not sure, but …”.  Lose it folks, especially the females among you.  It’s not just a sheep factor thing, it does damage to your credibility.

Imagine the president of the United States (whether current or past) given an important national address on foreign policy and ending each declaration with a rising inflection.  What would you think of that president?  What do others think of you when you do so?

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2 Comments
  1. I agree, Elliott. Rising inflection is death to the credibility of female discourse.

  2. You completed some nice points there. I did a search on the subject and found mainly people will go along with with your blog.

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