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Voice Inflection in Questions

It seems that very few of the speakers raise their pitch at the end of a question. Is this characteristic of Gaelic? If so, then so be it. However, if questions usually do involve an inflection at the end in normal speech, it would be so helpful if the speakers would do so. I rarely use the word bank and knowing something is a question would help me to puzzle out what is being said. Thank you.

January 15, 2020



I believe (though don’t cite me on this – I won’t find the source of this now) that it was a general characteristic of Goidelic languages since Old Irish – the intonation wasn’t used that much to mark neither questions nor for emphasis; instead interrogative particles (a bheil Gàidhlig agad?) were used to mark questions and special emphatic forms (tha Gàidhlig mhath agamsa) and fronting (is ann agam a tha Gàidhlig mhath or maybe is (e) mise aig a bheil Gàidhlig mhath???).

Similar thing, I think, is true about Irish (but under the English influence, changes of intonation are more often used recently).


Languages are so interesting! Thank you for providing information.


It is a characteristic of the language - contrast with modern styles of English where there is a rising inflection even when it is not a question (which annoys us old folk!)


Obh, obh. I thought that might be the case. I guess I'll just keep plugging on my listening skills! And, being one of the older folk, I too find the unnecessary inflection a bit annoying. But language styles, and languages, change. Thank you.


My response to the "uptick" is to say "I don't understand what you're asking me".

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