With so much legal and illegal immigration to the U.S.A. the inflection pattern known as up-speech has become ubiquitous in the radio broadcast media. It conveys the idea of uncertainty and tentativeness-floating over what one says as if expecting reproach by a superior. When up speech is used by those with power it seems disingenuous. It seems a way to put on the camouflage on oppression by those oppressing. There may be many rhetorical tricks of the trade.
One can imagine Bill Gates or General Patton using up-speech in giving orders to inferiors…’I am going to take my tank division and run over the Krauts tomorrow?’ Inferiors would know where they would be spending their day instead of answering something in doubt or incredulity expressed in a rhetorical question. When up speech is used from a down speak standpoint to one’s betters it is somewhat normative yet when reversed it seems to express incredulity. When used incessantly it seems _____.
King David was said to be of ruddy complexion. The root word used was the same as that describing Adam and brown-red dirt. One can imagine an American Jews asking someone with rising up-speech incredulity-‘you think David was an American Indian’?
If police with English as a second language skills had up speech inflected traits it might be confusing to use with ‘suspects’ apprehended in armed robbery. Yet if arrested in a bank robbery after resisting arrest, the euphemism of ‘suspect’ might be consistent with ‘you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law?’ If the broadcast media have many illegal alien announcers with poor English language skills, the sometimes used by public radio ‘journalists’ also becomes understandable.
For native English speakers departing from usual inflection patterns provide tale-tells of emotion or stress that might provide information for itself. The up-speech patterns simply provide disinformation used outside the normal tentative, questioning, conditional approval paradigm. Yet that is o.k. for the broadcast media that misinforms or selectively misdirects public attention away from their own interests.