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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

The use of uptalk or a question intonation at the end of a statement is a phenomenon that has been widely studied by linguists and gender scholars for English. However, little to no research has focused on studying this phenomenon in Spanish. By examining the discourse of the contestants of a well-known Spanish dating reality show, this study fills this gap in the research by demonstrating the existence of uptalk in Spanish. I also propose that the melodies that are associated with Spanish uptalk in the data are L* L-H% and L+H* HH%. Additionally, all of the participants that were analyzed used uptalk regardless of their gender. Nonetheless, females were the ones that use it more profusely. The use of uptalk in Spanish, like in English, served a number of discourse functions like holding the floor, showing camaraderie or softening a command. A new discourse function was also found in the data: females used uptalk for flirting during romantic interactions, a pattern that was not observed at all for men.

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