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Do all languages raise the voice at the end of a sentence when asking a question?

 
 
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 02:37 pm
I can't find out from anywhere... it's a hard question to google!
I don't want to generalise- it is all languages that do this, or just European languages?
Thanks, pq
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 02:46 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I think its only "Valleyish" . I hate this sound.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 03:01 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
It's funny you say this happens only in European languages.

In American English when someone asks - 'Would you like to go to the movies' the stress is on the last syllable of the last word, so it sounds like this : Would you like to go to the mo-VIES? And this is true of all Americans - it's only valley-girlish when they make every statement sound like a question.

But in British English, I've noticed that when someone asks, 'Would you like to go to the movies, it sounds like this: 'Would you like to go to the MO-vies.'

My son says it the British way now all the time and though it doesn't bother me when real British people do it - I always tease him when he does it and say something like - 'What have you done with my American son - I want him back'.

(I can't comment on other European languages like French, Spanish and German, etc...I haven't paid close enough attention to the syllabic stresses in those languages to compare them to English).
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 03:20 pm
TPQ wrote:
I can't find out from anywhere... it's a hard question to google!

Not really, I found lots of interesting information.

Words are misleading, you usually don't raise the voice at the end of a question.

You don't modify the amplitude of the sound, you modify the pitch, meaning that you increase the frequency of the sound.

One would say you inflect the sound.

And it seems it's a general human tendency.

From experience, I've heard questions that effectively sound like you are raising your voice but those are affectations...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 03:47 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:
From experience, I've heard questions that effectively sound like you are raising your voice but those are affectations...


Yes, there is a thing known in English (of fairly recent appearance) as "up-speak." In up-speak, every sentence sounds like a question, know what i mean? I suspect that's because the "you know what i mean" has become silent, ya know? So the end result is, that every statement comes out sounding like a question?

It would be nice if one of our Chinese members--maybe Oristar or one of the others who is very competent in English--would chime in. It would be interesting to know how this works in heavily inflected languages.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 03:52 pm
@Setanta,
Yes, that's what I was talking about..
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 04:20 pm
Up speak drives me up the wall . . . years and years ago, "Valley Girl" speak was all the rage among adolescents . . . it's gone now . . . i can only hope that with up speak, this, too, shall pass.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 05:40 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I heard somewhere that some dialects of Chinese are phonemically tonal and therefore a rising pitch could alter the meaning of the last word.

BTW I find the Australian habit of raising the pitch at the end of almost every sentence most annoying ! Smile
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 06:59 pm
Quote:

Uptalk anxiety
September 7, 2008 @ 6:31 am ยท Filed by Mark Liberman under Language and gender, Psychology of language

...

In Cambridge English, final rises occurred very rarely on statements:

In contrast, in Belfast, more than 95% of statements had a rising pattern on the last stressed syllable, and most ended with a phrase-final high as well:

Does this reflect a greater prevalence among Belfast natives of insecurity, need for confirmation, or desire to assert dominance and control? Surely not " it's just a regional difference in intonational patterns, just as there is regional variation in vowel quality.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=568
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 03:34 pm
Most east Asian languages, yes. I can vouch for, Japanese, the main four dialects of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai.

Indo-Slavic languages based on Greek (like Russian) are likely to have this feature as well.

I'm not comfortable saying this is universal, but it is probably very close.

T
K
O
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 03:55 pm
@Diest TKO,
Even those who find it annoying do it. It's just one more option for nuance in language.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 05:16 pm
I don't know why my post was voted down. Upward inflection is a part of many languages, specifically used as PQ asked to imply a question.

In Japanese, upward inflection implies suggestion, and makes a statement a question to be confirmed or corrected.

"Ano hito wa nihonjin desho ne?"

is the same as...

"Ano hito wa nihonjin (upward inflection)."

In Russian, the use of upward inflection is the same.

I don't see what there is to be annoyed by here. Unless upward inflection is being used when not asking a question. Even in that case, who cares?

T
K
O
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 05:21 pm
@Diest TKO,
Quote:
I don't know why my post was voted down.


A mistake or minor/extreme ignorance on the part of the voter, Diest. Some folk just don't much like facts.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 06:36 pm
@Diest TKO,
Someone pumped you back up, Diest.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Feb, 2010 05:54 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

BTW I find the Australian habit of raising the pitch at the end of almost every sentence most annoying ! Smile


Ditto!
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 11:55 pm
in most dialects of English a pitch inflection on the end of a question is only used when a question word is not employed. If I say [what's that?] my voice does not become inflected, there is no need the question is already marked by the question word. This is the same in most question inflecting languages. However, some languages like certain Djirbal dialects in Australia inflect mid sentence. I would assume if i researched hard enough I could find a sentence initial inflecting language as well.

In the example of Chinese (Mandarin) and other tonal languages where a tone change would affect meaning, a question word is always used. This is the same in many non tonal languages as well.

Other languages use question particle or enclitics. Japanese has question particles that normally go at the end of the sentence. Other languages like Shoshoni use an enclitic, which is affixed in a specific position in a sentence. In the case of Shoshoni it prefixes the second word in multi word questions or suffixes the first word on one word questions and employs different phonological rules depending on it being prefixed or suffixed.
0 Replies
 
bmom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 09:28 am
@fresco,
Not all Asutralians spekl this way and in most cases I think it is uneducated Australians that do it... I am Australian and most of my friends and myself don't speak loke that, some however do. But you can not make a statment saying everyone in a country does something, not every person in any country does everything the same.
bmom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 09:39 am
@bmom,
My friends and I however were schooled in grammer and proper englishl, So this may be a reason for why we do not raise our pitch at the end of each sentence. But I have noticed more that a lot of Australians tend to pause mid sentence instead of saying the sentence smoothly maybe this is why you think there is a pitch different.. I don't do that either but I have been speaking with people from other countried for many years so maybe my Australian accent is not as original as others. But I know I am not the other one from Australia that speaks more smoothly and without so many tonal inflections unless asking a question without and obvious word to indicate it as a question... so therefore resent the idea that all Australians are the same for instance you probably do not know there are three different types of accents in Australia.... South... Middle East Coast and North
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 09:44 am
Somewhere in my readings on grammar and linguistics I swear I read about this phenomena. I thought they called it grammatic interrogatory stress, but now, of course, I go looking for a reference and get nothing.
Arrgh.
I remember it specifically because a group of scientists were trying to figure out how to make a robot recognize a question when spoken to by either a human being or another robot. (That would be interesting.)
The bots were being programmed to speak every language possible, kind of a C3PO.

If the robot was in a room (say at CERN) it could translate among the German, French, Swiss and American scientists.

I know..I know ..
Joe(only the American would need a translator. Rolling Eyes )Nation
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 09:59 am
@bmom,
Most of the guys on the airport/border TV programmes appear to do it. Does that imply they are "uneducated". Wink
 

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