Banning words for the new year

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 20 00:27:22 UTC 2014

On Jan 19, 2014, at 4:36 PM, Christopher Philippo wrote:

> Saying “ain’t” typically does not result in mothers fainting, fathers falling in a bucket of paint, sisters crying, brothers dying, and cats and dogs saying goodbye.  Possibly no other word has ever been claimed, however poetically, to have such calamitous consequences.  (When and where did that rhyme proscribing “ain’t”-saying originate and by what means did it spread, I wonder?  Is it a reminder that it’s considered improper by many or is it more of a protest against discouraging "ain’t” as ridiculous?)  Don’t say “twerk”: your mother, berserk, your father will drown in a lake full of murk….

In another version, the dog takes more drastic measures:

Don't say 'ain't'.
Your mother will faint.
Your father will fall
In a bucket of paint.
Your sister will cry.
Your brother will die.
Your dog will call the FBI.

(I think being so easy to rhyme must have helped, or hurt, "ain't"'s chances.)


The American Dialect Society -

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