More than 70 per cent of bosses claim that the rising trend among Britons – especially teenagers – of adding inflections to the ends of sentences is ‘particularly annoying.’
While almost 85 per cent said that when non-Australian people use this language trait it is a ‘clear indicator of insecurity’ and could hinder their chances of a promotion or payrise.
The language trait is known as a high-rising terminal (HRT), commonly referred to as ‘Australian Question Intonation’ (AQI).
It is the act of raising a voice at the end of a sentence that makes the statement sound like a question and is common in Australian and American accents.
According to UK publisher Pearson, the use of AQI has recently grown rapidly among teenagers and graduates in the UK.
The firm surveyed 700 men and women in managerial, executive and ownership roles.
More than half said AQI would hinder the prospects of promotion and a better pay grade in their own organisation.
While 57 per cent believed AQI has the potential to damage a person’s professional credibility by revealing an inability or reluctance to speak their mind.
Of the respondents responsible for interviewing job applicants for senior roles, only 16 per cent said they would be willing to gloss over AQI and focus purely on an applicant’s strengths and aptitude.
In some cases, 44 per cent of respondents admitted they would mark down an applicant by as much as a third based purely on the candidate’s irritating speech.
However, this was only found to be the case when a British applicant used AQI, and didn’t apply when Australian or American people naturally spoke in that way.
Author Harry Key, a voice techniques expert, said: ‘HRT is becoming increasingly common in the UK – especially among teenagers – but the results of this research suggest that using it in a business or workplace setting is definitely to be avoided.’
Harry added: ‘The message is clear: if you know what you’re talking about, and want to be respected for it, then you need to sound like you know it.’