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Amanda Ritchart is a native speaker of Southern Californian English, the dialect also known as “Valley Girl talk” — you know, the one that’s, like, totally full of the word “like.”

The dialect’s most recognizable characteristic might be the rise in pitch that speakers use at the end of some sentences. When Ritchart, a graduate student in linguistics at the University of California, San Diego, says her name, it sounds like a question: “Amanda?”

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