Articles on TV Hosting, Media Training and Broadcasting

"Do you speak like a Kardashian?"
November, 2013

One of the things that drives me totally nuts is "uptalk." What is uptalk you ask?

Here's the Wikipedia definition:

The high rising terminal, also known as moronic interrogative, uptalk, upspeak, rising inflection, unnecessary inflection, or high rising intonation, is a feature of some accents of English where statements have a rising intonation pattern in the final syllable or syllables of the utterance...

It's become a common speech pattern for American women (and even some guys). Believed to have originated in Southern California, hence the term "valley girl", it's all over the US. It's common for British, Australians, South Africans and New Zealanders to have a rising intonation on a final syllable too. But at least they make it sound charming. If you're from the US, well I have to agree with the description of "moronic interrogative."

The Kardashians, Rachel Zoe, the girls on The Hills... they've made this way of speaking trendy.

When I ask people to "slate their name" more often than not, they say their name in uptalk - to me coming across as if they've said, "I think that's my name?" Then I follow it up with "are you sure?" If you're sure about something and it's a fact, it should end on what I refer to as a "down note."

Uptalk to me is like nails on a chalkboard. And when I hear experts speak in uptalk (and I'm not just talking fashion experts) to me, it lessens their credibility. It sounds unprofessional.

Then there's "vocal fry" where the voice gets really low and raspy. Faith Sailie of CBS Morning Show did a piece on "Vocal Fry" which expresses my exact sentiments on the subject. As she put it, "American's young women are running out of oxygen" because why else would they talk like that? She describes it as a "low, creaky vibration produced by a fluttering of the vocal cords." It's basically abusing your vocal cords. And vocal fry is everywhere.

As Faith points out in her brilliant piece, girls may be seen by their peers as "educated" but to me, they come across ditzy and disinterested.

To view Faith's video, check out: