Listening to political speeches and, other people talking about a list of things,

Fix the water problem. Fix the Roadways. Cut Taxes.

It appears that they have a raised tone on the last word as if they are asking a question. Has this been there always and I hadn't noticed?


  • When I say it, I'd most naturally end those sentences down, not up?
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 3 '18 at 17:48
  • Are you referring to the single last word of the whole utterance ('taxes'), or to the words at the end of these sentences ('problem', 'roadways')? If the latter, I'd expect that this is standard list/continuation intonation, which is characterized in English by rises. Apr 3 '18 at 19:42
  • To a previous question about the intonation of questions, I suggested a connection with the list intonation being asked about here: linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/2992/…
    – Greg Lee
    Apr 4 '18 at 2:17

This is a long-standing feature of various dialects outside the US. In the US, it was most strongly associated with Valleyspeak, although it is also a long-standing feature of North Dakota and Minnesota English (originating in Norwegian). It is now fairly standard across US dialects, but age- and gender-associated.

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