Valleyspeak or Valspeak is a common name for an American sociolect, originally of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, in particular Valley girls. This stereotype, which originated in the 1970s, became an international fad for a certain period. Many phrases and elements of Valleyspeak, along with surfer slang and skateboarding slang, are stable elements of the California English dialect lexicon, and in some cases wider American English (such as the widespread use of "like" as a hedge).
The term "Valley Girl" and the Valley manner of speech was given a wider circulation with the release of a hit 1982 single by Frank Zappa entitled "Valley Girl", on which Moon Unit Zappa, Frank's then fourteen-year-old daughter, delivered a monologue in "Valley speak" behind the music. This song popularized phrases such as "grody to the max".
An early appearance of Valleyspeak and the Valley Girl stereotype was through the character of Jennifer DiNuccio, played by Tracy Nelson in the 1982–83 sitcom Square Pegs. According to an interview with Nelson included on the 2008 DVD release of the series, she developed the character's Valley speak and personality prior to the Zappa recording becoming popular.
Frequent use of high rising terminal is common in Valleyspeak. Statements have rising intonation, causing normal declarative language to appear to the listener as interrogative. This bears significant resemblance to Spanish language speech patterns. Spanish heavily influences the manner in which English is spoken in Southern California.
- Filler (linguistics)
- Jive filter – a novelty program that translates English into parody forms.
- Like: As a discourse particle
- Pink Five – a Star Wars parody fanfilm starring a Valley girl.
- Gap Girls & The Californians – Saturday Night Live sketches, prominently featuring Valleyspeak phrases.
- Sexy baby voice
- "Weemawee Yearbook Memories: Tracy Nelson and Claudette Wells", a featurette on the DVD release Square Pegs: The Like, Totally Complete Series ... Totally (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2008).
- Origins of Valspeak, YouTube video with Tracy Nelson from Square Pegs DVD commentary.
- cs.utexas.edu: "Valspeak" text translator
- Lotozo, Eils (September 4, 2002). "The way teens talk, like, serves a purpose". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Citing Siegel, Muffy E. A. (2002). "Like: The Discourse Particle and Semantics". Journal of Semantics 19 (1): 35–71. doi:10.1093/jos/19.1.35.
- Catherine Tate – Valley Girl parody