With all of the recent travel, I've been noticing a few kind of strange things about the way people communicate when their voice is coming over a PA system. I've noticed these phenomena before, but I've never tried to spell out exactly what I think is going on until now. The first curiosity is the tendancy for people who repeat a phrase over a PA to use the same intonation pattern no matter who or where they are, or what they are saying. Consider this:

"Electric cart needed at gate 12," will be said once with a rising tone on the last word. It will then be repeated "Electric cart needed at gate 12." with a lower tone used on the word 'twelve'. I guess you could surmize that this is done (unconsciously) to draw attention to the specific bit of information at the end of the sentence, in this case accentuating 'gate twelve'. But, the same pattern works when someone is paging a manager in a store, or announcing that the store is closing, or just about anything else that is said or repeated. I think this is just a learned behavior that serves no purpose really, but is just something that people do because they've heard other people do it and they unconsciously immitate.

A similar phenomenon, although one that I actually find considerably more annoying is the tendancy of flight attendants to over-accentuate the helping verb in each sentence. There's REALLY no need for this, and yet, it has been a universal occurrance on the many flights I've been on recently. "Please remain seated until the pilot DOES turn off the fasten seatbelt light." Now, in that sentence, there's not even a need for the helping verb, it's just extraneous. You could easily say 'until the pilot turns off' but the 'does' creeps in there somehow. This happens an awful lot, and it's another thing that seems to be passed on from one speaker to another. It's not a tremendous abuse of the english language and I don't think these flight attendants should be strung up by their toenails and poked with a cattle prod, but it would be nice if there was a way to stop this from happening. You'll meet people sometimes who have what I am now dubbing 'flight attendant helping verb syndrome'; people who can't help but add helping verbs and accentuate them in speech when they are particularly unneccessary. Imagine if everything you DID read had extra helping verbs? Adding emphasis to the helping verb actually implies something too, in most cases. It gives the impression that the opposite of the action the verb is describing is specifically not the case. Maybe this is all a lot to fuss about, but please, can't we all DO try to get this right?