Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

John Taylor


This thesis explores a type of intonation, High-Rise Terminals (HRT), which is also known by a number of other names including uptalk, upspeak, high-rise intonation, high-rising contour, recurrent rises, and Australian Questioning Intonation. The media have often latched onto this non-standard intonation characterized by a pitch rise at the end of a declarative phrase or sentence, usually seizing it as an opportunity to blame "Valley Girls" for what some listeners consider a contamination of language, even going so far as to call it a disease. This thesis offers a different perspective. Included is a discussion of phonetics (explaining what HRT is), an analysis of the possible origin(s) of HRT, current commentary regarding the use of HRT, results of the research I conducted over the last two semesters (showing South Dakota State University students' perceptions of this intonation variant), and an analysis of the variant, incorporating research dealing with gender theory.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

English language -- Intonation.
Intonation (Phonetics)


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright