Bye bye, vocal fry. All the cool kids in 2013 are ending their sentences with invisible question marks.
According to the BBC, linguists who observed the vocal patterns of young men and women in California have noticed that ending sentences? With questions? In a way that makes it sound a little bit like the speaker is slightly underconfident in what they're saying? is now a practice that's been widely adopted by men as well as the women who started the trend.
This isn't because uptalk is stupid, researchers argue. It's just a way of speaking that indicates that the speaker is seeking empathy or agreement with their audience. It's a way to remove a little of the bite from direct orders or controversial opinions and to sound less cranky. It's adding a smile to the sound of your voice, like adding an emoticon instead of a period to the end of a text.
As the BBC piece points out, it comes to linguistic trends, as the teen girls go, so goes America (however, not before America spends years disparaging on the teen girl-originated inflection as a sign of stupidity). Just a couple of short years ago, then hand wringing was over "vocal frying" like a Kardashian. Next year, it will probably be something else. And the world will continue to spin unabated.
Unless, of course, the newest linguistic trend involves saying "supposebly."