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28 October 2014

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Why I hate...

Lucy and a joey
Australia is to blame says Chris.

The rising inflection

By Chris Ackerley
Ever wanted to slap people who always raise their voice at the end of anything they say? Chris shares your pain and describes his rage - share it with the group Chris...

I don’t know whether it's just me but I have an intense respect for the English language. The intricate ways in which words are formed, the sound of certain dialects on the ear and the joy of completing a well constructed novel all give me a little kick.

However, there is one particular anomaly of our sacred mother tongue that causes me to squirm around with such intense irritation I feel the need to stand up and walk away from conversations in mid flow: the rising inflection.

For those of you unfamiliar with this term, a rising inflection is where a person raises the pitch of their voice at the end, or even during a sentence, where it is not appropriate. In other words, people who speak in questions or ‘Up Talk’. 

"After I have controlled myself from being rude by correcting their linguistic folly, I have a serious pain in the neck."
Chris Ackerley

A rising inflection should only be used when expressing a question or in times of uncertainty. Therefore when conversing with someone afflicted with its hideous misuse, I find myself nodding constantly as so to quash their seemingly constant uncertainties.

After I have controlled myself from being rude by correcting their linguistic folly, I have a serious pain in the neck (yes that’s from all the nodding!).

I may sound righteous and pretentious to some of you but when it comes to being grammatically correct I just can't help it (trust me, I could easily write another one of these on my hatred for the double negative!).

If there was a self-help group for obsessive grammarians - or sticklers as they call it in the linguistic profession - then I would have to join.  “Hello my name is Chris and I am a grammarholic.” 

I am not quite perfect! On my gap year I had the pleasure of visiting Australia and America for lengthy periods. Upon my return I was under the elusion my wonderful ‘Manc’ ascent had not faltered throughout my journeys. How wrong I was.

I was immediately ridiculed by my friends for my annoying ‘Up Talk’! It took me a good week to deflate all those helium filled inflections that were sticking in my mouth like a foul taste.    

A group of people talking
Don't drive your mates mad!

Take a little time tonight and listen to yourself when talking to friends. If you have a tendency to falter when in comes to the pitch of your speech them don’t beat yourself up, do something about it.

If not for your own sake then for mine and all the grammarholics out there! I know many of you reading this will think, “what’s the point, it doesn’t sound that bad”, research has shown that how you say something is five times more important than what you say.

It's probably best to give you a little scenario at this point. Imagine you’re in a job interview and you slip into your ‘Up Talk’. 

Your prospective employer will see you as someone with no assertiveness due to your constant question-like sentences, which teamed with your immature American sit-com sounding tongue, will leave you with no credibility - in fact the only thing you will be remembered for is how annoying you sound.

In some ways my immense hatred on this linguistic affliction is ruining my chances in life. Take for example chatting to a girl you fancy. Now she may have the best body and be the most intellectually stimulating person I have ever met but if she’s an ‘Up Talker’ then there is no chance I can see her again! 

This is just the tip of the iceberg and for this reason alone it must be stopped. Many of you may believe I have, quite simply, lost it but if you’re a grammarholic and you know what I’m going through then keep the faith and one day we can rid this land of the hated rising inflection!

What phrases get your goat?

last updated: 15/09/05
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Heather Moore
When I read this page, I audibly shouted "Oh My God, there are people like me out there" This rising inflection absolutely drives me to distraction. I cannot bear RI in any shape or form. I always feel like I should give an answer to what they have said because it sounds like a question. I am continually correcting my 8 year old daughter and she, by the same token, corrects her 12 year old cousin. It seems to be more common place every day. Each day that passes I met another 10 people who do it. RISING INFLECTION AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

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Irene Rae


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