ain't support

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 12 01:53:55 UTC 2006

Sigh! It's such a well-established trait that I was hoping that it would
develop into something really interesting, like "ain't" with intransitives
and "di?n't" with transitives. So far, no such luck, unless you count the
fact that it's becoming so hip that whiggers are picking up on it, to the
extent that it'll soon no longer be diagnostic.

Speaking of "di?n't" v. "didn't," I've been hearing people using both forms
in the same sentence. Unfortunately, that still doesn't tell me whether the
hated (by me) glo?al stop is spreading or dying out.


On 5/11/06, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: ain't support
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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?
> Larry
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