Uptalk in London (TU13)

Speakers: Lorna and Rachel, 21 year-old White British women; Lucas and Hannah, 22 year-old White British man and woman

Lorna and Rachel are two young White British women from London. In this extract, they are telling a story to their friend (another young White British woman from London) about what happened to them on Thursday night. Lorna and Rachel’s extract illustrates the typical use of ‘uptalk’ – rising intonational contours in declarative sentences – among young women in the southeast of England.

Lorna’s use of uptalk can be contrasted with how Lucas (a young White British man) uses the feature in his conversation with Hannah (a young White British woman) when he describes a skateboarding accident he had a number of years before. Lucas’ speech illustrates the typical use of uptalk among young men in the region.

Together, the two extracts demonstrate the conversational functions that uptalk performs in the speech of young people in London, and a few subtle differences that can be observed in how women and men use this style of speaking.

Discussion points
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Linguistics Research Digest link