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Michael Quinion has a great answer to somebody about why standard Englishes do not have a contraction for am not, along the lines of aren't and isn't (link). My favorite use of ain't comes from inveterate nitpickologist Jonathan Swift in his Journal to Stella:
quote:
Now, Mistress Dingley, an't you an impudent slut to expect a letter next packet from Presto, when you confess yourself, that you had so lately two letters in four days? unreasonable baggage! no, little Dingley, I am always in bed by twelve; I mean my candle's out by twelve, and I take great care of myself. (Link)
The first edition I found on Google Books silented edited the passage to aren't. Also:
quote:
Much of it was directed at the use of ain’t he and ain’t they rather than ain’t I (Eric Partridge wrote that using ain’t for isn’t was for him “an error so illiterate that I blush to record it”). However, all its uses became equally tainted. The dislike of ain’t rubbed off on an’t, too, which eventually led to its replacement.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I ain't never knowed that.


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That article by Quinion was interesting. I hadn't known how complicated the evolution of "amn't" was. Interesting that an't had been widely acceptable.
 
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I think it points out the absurdity of "proper" English that such a useful word as "ain't" is not used because someone in "authority" decided it was too low-class.


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Interesting that an't had been widely acceptable.

And, that's just one instance of the nitpickistas harming the language they want to protect.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I, for one, ain't going to take it anymore.


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So what do you say when you say, "am I not?" For example, I'd say, "Aren't I going?" Shu tells me that's wrong. I'd not say "Ain't I going?" simply because it's ingrained in me; "am I not" sounds really stilted; and "aren't I" irritates Shu. I suppose I should just rearrange the sentence and be done with it.

I agree, z, about the harm to language.
 
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I'd use aren't I, because that is the form I was taught and that's what most people would use, though I tend to eschew contractions in more formal writing. Saying aren't I is wrong is is like saying ain't I is wrong, i.e., both statements are grammaticfal incorrect. The funny thing is, the form aren't I probably arose from a rhoticized pronunciation of amn't I.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Why is there an unearthly taint
On so useful a term as quaint "ain't"?
Other forms seem pretentious
When used in a sentenc-ious
But prescriptionsits say, No you mayn't,"


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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