Uptalk brings you down

Woman holding a question mark
Uptalk sounds like a question, but it isn't

"Uptalk" is when you say everything with a rising tone, like it's a question. Read this, and pay attention to tone:

Hi, my name is Di? I'm a teacher at The English Farm? I love my job?

These are statements, not questions. (And, yes, I do love my job!) But, when I say it as a question, it sounds like I might love my job. It sounds weak and unsure.

Listen to a clear example of uptalk here.

Uptalk affects many people, even billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's speech. Listen to how he is speaking. What impression do you get? Compare that with American politician Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's speech patterns

So why do people use too much rising tone?

To sound humble/non-threatening

Some speakers make statements sound like questions so they appear more humble and don't seem threatening to the listener. It gives the impression that you're proposing something rather than declaring it. You leave room for potential disagreement. 

Others describe it as an offer, not a demand. You are offering the information, not insisting that the listener receive it. Again, it's more humble and less threatening.

A lack of confidence

It could be that you lack confidence in what you're saying, so you phrase a statement as a question to indicate you aren't completely sure. People who are insecure in themselves in general often use uptalk. It's important to note that even if you don't feel insecure or unsure, when you use uptalk it will sound like you are!

To prevent interruptions

Here we have a more aggressive interpretation of uptalk. If you end everything with a rising tone, it sounds like you aren't finished speaking yet—so everyone assumes you're going to continue and won't interrupt!

How to fix uptalk

So, if you use uptalk, which of those reasons do you think explains it for you? Are you trying to sound humble/non-threatening? Are you unsure about what you're saying, or insecure in general? Or are you trying to stave off interruptions? Or maybe you have another reason?

If you've never noticed yourself or others using uptalk, start listening. It's becoming more and more common these days, all across the globe. There is a good chance you use it more than you think.

Overusing uptalk, especially when you should be sounding calm and confident, needs to be avoided. So, use more descending tone. 

to stave off [verb]—to temporarily prevent something bad from happening.