Banning words for the new year

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 20 01:36:56 UTC 2014

Works for _cain't_ too.


On Sun, Jan 19, 2014 at 7:27 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Banning words for the new year
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> 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.)
> LH
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