A New York Times Room for Debate piece on "Killing Pythons, and Regulating Them" (3/5/2010) supplies another piece of anecdata for my on-going quest to document the North American varieties of uptalk. This one is from the sound track of a YouTube video about a python wrangler in central Florida.
At the beginning, there's a passage with a long sequence of final rises, ending with a final fall:
so we're going to go see if we can find this guy /
uh there's a main area that's he's been seen over and over again /
and usually with pythons /
they stay in one area /
they're- they are territorial /
unless it comes time /
for breeding season /
so I've been out there once before /
and now we're going to go out again /
and see what we find.
After he wades out into the swamp and wrestles the python into submission, his explanation also starts with a couple of final-rising declaratives. Then for comparison, we get some yes-no questions, which are also rising — in pretty much the same way as the statements, though ending a bit higher. And then he ends the segment with a fall again.
that was a burmese python /
very mad, very angry snake /
have you seen my face? /
and look how much he has on me? /
you see that? /
that's from that little piece
As I've noted with respect to other examples in the past, there's no reason to think that these final rises are always (or often, or perhaps ever) indications of feminine insecurity and need for reassurance.
[Update -- Ben Zimmer notes another set of examples, in Terry Gross's Fresh Air interview with William Hurt (audio here, transcript here). For instance, here is Hurt's description of his role in The Yellow Handkerchief:
my character is blue collar /
originally from probably Kentucky /
uh ran into trouble /
works as a steam-fitter /
on oil rigs /
moved to Louisiana after he ran into drug trouble /
tried to make a new life / met someone, fell in love with them /-
got into an accidental bit of trouble which put him in prison for a long time and he takes a road trip
with some young people after he gets out.
Again, a series of final rises, ending with a few transitional phrases and ending low. Hurt uses similar patterns now and then elsewhere in this interview, e.g.
um and I spent one night in- in- in maximum security there /
uh I think I'm the only person who electively has done that /
I think someone else tried to but
screamed and gave up at midnight /
um I spoke with every member on that- on that row /
um who's incarcerated in an eight foot by four foot cell twenty three hours a day for the rest of their lives /
But it's by no means his default approach -- compare this interview with Chuck The Movie Guy.
Nor do other Americans generally use non-terminal rises. There are none, for example, in the long monologue attributed to the Pentagon shooter John Patrick Bedell, who uses final falls throughout, e.g.
The door is open for studies of who (among speakers of North American English) actually uses which kinds of final rises when.]