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Linneman to be featured on With Good Reason

  • Gender and Jeopardy!
    Gender and Jeopardy!
    He didn’t provide an answer in question format, but William & Mary’s Thomas Linneman nonetheless addressed gender and speech patterns in a recent study titled “Gender in Jeopardy! Intonation Variation on a Television Game Show.”
    Photo by Graham Bryant '13

William & Mary Sociology Professor Tom Linneman’s research on uptalk will be featured on the public radio program With Good Reason July 26-Aug. 1.

The program may be heard across Virginia and in select markets nationwide, on public radio channels. Broadcast times are available online.  Audio files of the full With Good Reason program and its companion news feature will be posted the week of the show on the With Good Reason website

Uptalk is a rising tone at the end of a statement that makes it sound like a question. Linneman’s specific study, “Gender in Jeopardy! Intonation Variation on a Television Game Show,” looked at the use of uptalk in the popular game show Jeopardy! He found the use of uptalk common among contestants, especially among female contestants.

“The primary sociological controversy surrounding uptalk concerns the fact that women use uptalk more often than men do, and some interpret this as a signal of uncertainty and subordination,” Linneman said previously about his study.

Linneman’s uptalk research has been covered by numerous news outlets, most recently Smithsonian Magazine.

"One interesting aspect of the coverage this project has received is the wide range of media that have been interested in it: from the New York Times to Fox News, from Wired to GQ, from Smithsonian Magazine to Women's Health," he said.  "The interview with NPR's With Good Reason will hopefully reach yet another audience who will then carefully consider the implications of how people talk."

Linneman’s teaching and research interest focus on media, gender, sexualities, religion, and statistics. He is the author of two books - Weathering Change: Gays and Lesbians, Christian Conservatives, and Everyday Hostilities, published by New York University Press and Social Statistics: Managing Data, Conducting Analyses, Presenting Results, published by Routledge (second edition due out in 2014). Linneman currently serves as faculty advisor to Mosaic House, a living-learning community on campus and he served as chair of the sociology department from 2006 to 2011.