Aussie ‘Upspeak’ May Ruin Career; Brits Say no to ‘Upspeak’

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By Athena Yenko | February 18, 2014 3:01 PM EST

The use of Aussie 'upspeak' was banned from the University of Roehampton in southwest London among trainee teachers, as shared by parent Mark Palmer through a blog in The Spectator.

He said that he accompanies his daughter to an orientation as a teacher trainee at the university, and the training coordinator had particularly cautioned interviewees against using the Aussie 'upspeak'.

"Towards the end of the afternoon, the co-ordinator said she wanted to offer a few tips about the interview process that would begin once all the applications have been submitted. It turned out she had only one main tip - which was to avoid upspeak. She stressed the point vigorously, Mr Palmer wrote.

Aussie 'upspeak' had been characterised by a rising intonation at end of each sentence;  high-rising terminal or Australian question intonation. It can also be called uptalk. Although the origin of the infamous intonation was unknown, there had been researches suggesting that 'upspeak' originated from New Zealand or the west coast of America.

But for the Brits, 'upspeak' became rampant since the show Neighbours arrived on local televisions in the mid 1980s..

Popular Australian soaps such as The Sullivans and The Young Doctors which were imported to Britain from the 1970s started the influence of 'upspeaking.'

Home and Away in 1973 left a strong influence as the show opens the true Australian culture.

The 'upspeak' became so rampant that Stephen Fry said that he "barely knows anyone under 20 who doesn't use it."

Meanwhile, a survey of 700 company bosses by publisher Pearson showed that speaking 'upspeak' rub employees off their chance of getting promoted or having increase in salary. Seventy-one per cent of the bosses said it was a "particularly annoying trait".  The 85 per cent added that it is a "clear indicator of a person's insecurity or emotional weakness".

Forty-four per cent admitted turning interviewees down when 'upspeak' is used during interview.

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