"ain't" (mis)behavior

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 11 05:34:46 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 8:35 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> I ha'n't.  But now I've.  It does assert dates of appearance for various
> forms.

I read somewhere, somewhen, that _ain't_ is from "I amn't" for "I am not,"
with the vowel from a choice made along the "ahnt - ant - aint" spectrum,
as is the case with, e.g. _haunt_, in various dialects.

BE-speakers use all three - ahnt - ant -aint - for "aunt," often varying in
real time among members of the same immediate family, as on my own, and
like unto "Wilkes-Bahra/-Barra/-Barry/-Berry" among my wife's siblings.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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