Yesterday, in answering a question from a reader, I glanced over the section on intonation in the 1877 edition of Henry Sweet's "A Handbook of Phonetics". I found what I was looking for, namely the section where Sweet distinguishes three "primary 'forms' or 'inflections' of tones" in the intonation of English — level, rising, and falling — and the "compound tones" such as "compound rising" (= fall+rise) and "compound falling" (= rise+fall).
But next came something surprising:
280. The use of tone varies greatly in different languages. In English the tones express various logical and emotional modifications, such as surprise, uncertainty, &c. In some languages there is a tendency to employ one predominant tone without much regard to its meaning. Thus in Scotch the rising tone is often employed monotonously, not only in questions but also in answers and statements of facts. In Glasgow Scotch the falling tone predominates. In American English the compound rise is the characteristic tone. [emphasis added]
The part about rising tone "in Scotch" makes sense — this is presumably what's now called the UNB ("Urban North British") rise. But the claim about Glasgow Scotch is contrary to current observation (see Alan Cruttenden, "Intonational diglossia: a case study of Glasgow", 2007; or the examples a couple of LL posts "The phonetics of uptalk" and "Word (in)constancy"). And what in the world could Sweet mean by the claim that "In American English the compound rise [i.e. fall+rise] is the characteristic tone"?
Sweet was generally an acute observer, and not given to making things up, so I'm assuming that these opinions were incautious generalizations of some limited experience. For example, he may have known some Glaswegians who used (at least in his presence) the southern intonations that Cruttenden describes in the paper cited above. But what about the American fall+rise? Was this some sort of late-19th-century proto-uptalk?
As far as I know, Sweet never visited the U.S., so he must have acquired this opinion from Americans abroad. I wonder who they were, and why they talked like that.