Thursday, January 06, 2005

Anchoring For Dummies - Uptalk

Unlike people who might change channels cause they don't like the content of a story, there is nothing that will make me reach for the clicker faster than a reporter or anchor uptalking. You know what I mean. When an anchor reads a story and brings their voice up at the end of each sentence so basically a 30 second story sounds like one long sentence.

Uptalk is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as "a manner of speaking in which declarative sentences are uttered with a rising intonation as though they were questions."

Usually associated with Valley Girls from Southern California, uptalk is something you'll catch a young anchor doing, but even experienced anchors who just don't care do it all the time.

Anchoring is different from talking. When we talk, there is a certain rhythm to our speech that just happens naturally. You don't even think about bringing your voice down a notch when you're making a point or ending a sentence. But when anchoring, you're often reading sentences that are close, but not exactly how you'd say something if you were just saying it.

Just my theory, but that's one of two things that causes uptalk. The other is insecurity. The article talks about basic insecurity, but for some anchors I think there's a feeling that if you don't make everything connect together, people aren't going to pay attention to the whole story or they're not gonna get the message.

I know of some people who've made uptalk part of their style, but generally it just sounds stupid.

For those who uptalk: end your sentences people! Be confident. It makes for better story tellers.

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