Is Valley Girl Speak, Like, on the Rise?
The rise in pitch at the end of sentences, known as "uptalk," cuts across genders and ethnicities, study says.
A slight rise in pitch at the end of a sentence may be the most defining characteristic of a Valley girl, referring to the stereotypical ditzy, young, well-to-do, white women from the San Fernando Valley in southern California.
But according to research by Amanda Ritchart, a graduate student in linguistics at the University of California, San Diego, young southern Californians of many ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, both women and men, speak with a rise in pitch—known as "uptalk." The study also shows that uptalk presents in many different forms and contexts.
In one of the first studies to take a detailed look at the phonetics of uptalk, Ritchart and her former adviser Amalia Arvaniti analyzed the speech of 23 college-age, native