Aired: July 26, 2014

Uptalk on Jeopardy

Courtesy Flickr user Jen
Courtesy Flickr user Jen

“Uptalk” is that rising, questioning tone some people use when ending a statement. It’s becoming so common that Thomas Linneman (College of William and Mary) studied its use by contestants on the game show Jeopardy. He found women use it more than men, but male contestants often use “uptalk” after a woman competitor gets a wrong answer. And: Most of us think the best way to motivate is with rewards like money. But best-selling author Dan Pink says that’s a mistake. He says the secret to high performance and satisfaction is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to create new things, and to better our world.

Also featured: First published in 1947, Goodnight Moon has become one of the most popular books for young children. Yet the book’s author, Margaret Wise Brown, always wanted to write for adults. With Good Reason’s Kelley Libby tells the story of Brown’s life, from Hollins College to her tragic early death. Also featured: After World War II, the International Youth Library in Munich was created to promote understanding by introducing Germany’s children to the literature of other cultures. It’s now the largest repository of children’s literature in the world. Dr. Osayimwense Osa (Virginia State University) is a former fellow at the library. He says the internationalizing of children’s literature is a step toward world peace. And: With busy schedules and media-soaked lives, have our children lost their ability to engage in moment-by-moment experiences? Michele Briggs and Tammy Gilligan (James Madison University) discuss the lost art of mindfulness, its importance to classroom decorum and academic achievement, and what teachers can do to help children learn this important skill.

  • In Defense of Uptalk

    A Brooklyn journalist examines her use of uptalk in this New York Times article.  Does she kick the habit?conversation-687877_640

  • Motivation at Work Feature

    Americans work 137 more hours per year than the Japanese, and almost 500 more than the French. How can we stay motivated for our long hours at work? A best-selling author from Washington D.C. believes he has the answer. Lilia Fuquen has the story.


4 Comments on “Uptalk on Jeopardy”

  1. Elle

    Okay, so what is the term for when radio announcers all sound simultaneously amazed bewildered and confused by everything they are speaking about?

  2. Josh

    When we first started noticing uptalk , a friend who was raised in China, commented that is the way a sentence is ends in the Chinese language. You said that it seems to have originated in Australia / New Zealand. Given the closeness to China, could that have been the original influence?

  3. Emily Prince

    Excellent show today! I ended up driving all over Virginia Beach instead of parking and getting on with my day. Both guests were phenomenal. Both guests were phenomenal and I will be taking a lot from this show back to work. But, by the way, the guest talking about Margaret Brown uses uptalk. And I have to point out that Fresh Air host (I’m blanking on her name) uses it and it appears to be what led to success…making her more attractive to the hip set. I think it causes many of her guests to often use it more than they might.

    I will start streaming this show. I had never heard it before!

  4. Sarah

    Interesting about uptalk as part of normal sentence inflection in China. And Emily, I’ve deliberately used it a couple of times too. Like jewelry…

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