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Valleyspeak or Valspeak is an American sociolect, originally of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, in particular Valley girls. This sociolect, which most likely 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, have become stable elements of the California English dialect lexicon, and in some cases wider American English (such as the widespread use of "like" as a discourse marker).


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 Zappa, Frank's then fourteen-year-old daughter, delivered a monologue in "Valleyspeak" behind the music. This song popularized phrases such as "grody to the max" and "gag me with a spoon".

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 Valleyspeak and personality prior to the Zappa recording becoming popular.[1]

Among the recognizable characters with Valley Girl accents are Cher Horowitz of Clueless and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.


High rising terminal is common in Valleyspeak. Statements have rising intonation, causing normal declarative language to appear interrogative to listeners unfamiliar with the dialect.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "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).

External links[edit]