ain't support (P.S.)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 12 03:15:42 UTC 2006

Doan?chu werr' 'bout a thang, Larr. Innibidih woan?chu, dey got tuh go
through me fois'!


On 5/11/06, 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: ain't support (P.S.)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 9:11 PM -0400 5/11/06, Laurence Horn wrote:
> >>
> >>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?
> >
> I should have mentioned that I wasn't intending to claim that AAVE
> speakers use "ain't" *just* as the preterite, but rather that some
> AAVE speakers employ it as a negative preterite as well as as a
> negative perfect.  Thus it only serves as a diagnostic in one
> direction; the use of "ain't" with the value of 'hasn't/haven't'
> isn't indicative of any specific dialect.
> LH
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