09 June, 2006

Full stop?

I don't know about you but there's a singular trend which I've noticed manifesting itself in more and more people nowadays? You might have heard it yourself? It's the habit of speaking each and every sentence as if it were a question?

In other words, purposefully raising the tone of your voice when a punctuation mark approaches rather than, as convention dictates, lowering it? It's really quite irritating? It's also dangerously catching?

Almost everybody in my office practices this inflection? One or two people had begun to fall into such a maddening trap at the place I worked in Liverpool, but here in London it seems pretty much universal?

I can't stand it? It's horrendous, creepy and so so wrong? It goes against every law of English and leaves you with the impression of being trapped inside a second-rate Australian soap opera? (And yes there are second-rate ones, of the likes of The Young Doctors and Sons And Daughters and their ilk?)

I try my best to fight it but it's sometimes almost impossible to not adopt the speech patterns of all your work colleagues with whom you occupy a room for sometimes up to 10 hours a day?

I hate myself for doing it? I end up listening to myself speaking and hence stumbling over even the simplest of sentences? The most maddening thing of all, however, is the fact that these people don't apply the same law to proper questions? Here's an example?

So what is to be done about that.

That is how they speak? They steadfastly refuse to raise their voice as convention dictates when a question mark hoves into view? It's like everything has turned topsey-turvey? What with that and the ongoing abuse of the meaning of words (there was another outburst of "reactionary website!" the other day) I often end up retreating into silence and simply saying nothing at all?

If only these people heard themselves speaking from the point of view of someone else, they might realise how absurd they sound? But then that's the rub, because people always say they sound different hearing themselves on tape, for instance, or on a phone message?

I fear for both the sense and the sound of our language? Perhaps the answer lies in better education about the point of full stops? Like this one coming up.

You see?

That wasn't so bad.


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