ain't support

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 12 01:11:27 UTC 2006

At 8:56 PM -0400 5/11/06, William Salmon wrote:
>>From the news today:
>"Walker said even though Jackson videotaped his beating, he doesn't
>place any of the blame on him or hold a grudge.
>'He ain't even do nothing, he just filmed it,' Walker said.
>Jackson is currently free after posting $25,000 bond."
>I?ve noticed this use of *ain?t* a few times.  I wonder, is this
>sort of stand-in for didn?t/doesn?t/haven?t a new trend?
>Google provides:
>I ain't even do shit
>You ain't even do that shit
>It ain't even do shit
>Damn, I ain't even do nothing
>We make good music together and we ain't even do a song yet
Not a new trend, but a well-established trait of AAVE/Black English.
I think it goes by "past tense 'ain't"" or some equally memorable
label.   It'll be covered in Rickford's or other treatments of the
variety, and it constitutes a fairly reliable diagnostic for AAVE vs.
other non-standard dialects (in which "ain't" = 'hasn't' or 'haven't'
rather than 'didn't').  Wilson, any thoughts?


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