Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

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Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby Karkasmolen » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:14 pm UTC

So probably the best known orthodox English trivial pet-peeve is the usage of "ain't". It is viewed with extreme disdain and its usage in proper speech is seen as a contemptible faut pas1.

Obviously using our internet brain6 extensions we can all readily find the linguistic roots of the contraction. It is etymologically more similar to "Am not" (and the modern spellings thereof) than, for instance, "won't" is to "will not". I fail to quite understand the linguistic objection to its usage as that particular contraction, as "amn't" is extremely archaic and unused.

However, while I do understand the objections when it's used in other places, such as a replacement for "are not" or "is not" especially, "shall not" or even more painfully for "do not" and "did not" (fortunately, I've never seen it attempted for "can not"...guess there is a line after all.) I, frankly, find the notion of such a versatile usage for a contraction intriguing.

In terms of clarity, obviously the aforementioned "can not" presents an example where it's completely nonfunctional, but for most of the other examples does it not work just fine? For instance "I ain't do anything2", given the context it's clear that you meant you either did not or do not do anything. Similarly, "I ain't a robot" clearly you are saying that you are not (I am not) a robot3.

So what if English-speakers of the world5 rent the stigma asunder and simply embraced "ain't" as the long-lost member of our contraction family? Indeed, what if instead of discouraging the convenient expansion of its role in English syntax that we embrace, facilitate, and systematized it into a means of formally categorizing contractions for simplified use?

If anyone has an argument why this would somehow be to the detriment of the English language by all means. And if anyone wants to nit-pick the grammar, sentence structure, and spelling of my post by all means AH GOTS TA LERN RITE??

  • 1 No I did not mean faux pas they're slightly different this one fits better don't worry your sexy little head over it je suis Napoleon
  • 2 I will admit it was painful not to put the double-negative there.
  • 3 Let's not be coy
  • 4 <ref name=ohshiyoucaughtme>{{cite web|url=moid.org|title=Yale Law School Avalon Project Analysis of George Washington's Farewell Address|accessdate=2007-12-16|author=[[George Washington|George Fucking Washington boiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeee]]}}</ref>
  • 5Verily, we are immune to your trickery, daemon, for we have been trained by the great forum masters of old in the art of preview post!
  • 6 EDIT: damn it
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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby Aiwendil » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:08 pm UTC

I ain't do anything


Have you actually encountered this construction (with or without the double negative)? In my experience, this would rather be: 'I ain't done anything' (or more likely, 'I ain't done nothing'). That is, it seems to me that 'ain't' is able to be used for 'have not', but not for 'do not'.
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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby Karkasmolen » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

Aiwendil wrote:
I ain't do anything


Have you actually encountered this construction (with or without the double negative)? In my experience, this would rather be: 'I ain't done anything' (or more likely, 'I ain't done nothing'). That is, it seems to me that 'ain't' is able to be used for 'have not', but not for 'do not'.

Ah, well, to answer your question...yes, I have heard that, but in retrospect "have not" fits far better with what I was attempting to express.
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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

It seems that "ain't" works for "am not", "is not", "are not", "has not", and "have not". Furthermore, it seems to concord (it's a verb if I verb it) better with the no- words than the any- words (both sets of which might be described as "negative", though only the any- words can go with "not" in standard English).
Treatid basically wrote:widdout elephants deh be no starting points. deh be no ZFC.


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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby Karkasmolen » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:01 pm UTC

When it comes to linguistic discussion (particularly of English) I never assume the standard inherently correct. It is my firm belief that the standards of our language exist for the purpose of facilitating communication. I see any standard that stands in the way of that fundamental goal of language as a dastardly foe who shall be beheaded, that Anglophones everywhere may be freed from their tyranny.

Also if word filters are being made based on stuff from this thread, that's hilarious and I tip my hat.
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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:18 pm UTC

Not strictly based on this thread, but I noticed that someone already made a "hath" one, so I expanded with "doth" and "sayeth" (but following the change already made to "say"). And then I decided to make "be" regular, and eliminate object and possessive pronouns.
Treatid basically wrote:widdout elephants deh be no starting points. deh be no ZFC.


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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby Karkasmolen » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:41 pm UTC

I suspect this is right up your alley, in addition to being deeply relevant to the thread, of course.

I also think it's interesting that in most languages that I know of the default is almost universally positive/affirmative (will, should, would, do,) and that the opposites are qualified (will not, should not, would not, do not) ergo our contractions are typically negative.
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Re: Ain't/Amn't/Aren't

Postby gaurwraith » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:31 am UTC

Language / linguistic threads are at this times up in the next level...
What a mess !
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