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Ain’thology: the History and Life of a Taboo Word by Patricia Donaher, Seth Katz

By Patricia Donaher, Seth Katz

The note ain't is utilized by audio system of all dialects and sociolects of English. still, language critics view ain't as marking audio system as "lazy" or "stupid"; and the knowledgeable suppose ain't is on its deathbed, used merely in cliches. all people has an opinion approximately ain't. Even the grammar-checker in Microsoft observe flags each ain't with a pink underscore. yet why? over the last a hundred years, just a couple of articles and sections of books have reviewed the historical past of ain't or mentioned it in dialect contexts. this primary book-length assortment particularly devoted to this shibboleth offers a multifaceted research of ain't within the historical past and grammar of English; in English speech, writing, tv, comics and different media; and when it comes to the minds, attitudes, and utilization of audio system and writers of English from various areas, ethnicities, social sessions, and dialect groups. so much articles within the assortment are available for the typical proficient speaker, whereas others are directed essentially at experts in linguistic study-but with worthwhile causes and footnotes to make those articles extra approachable for the layperson. This choice of articles on ain't hence offers a vast viewers with a wealthy realizing and appreciation of the historical past and lifetime of this taboo note.

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Allen (1965), the director of The Linguistic Atlas of the Upper Midwest, outlined the backgrounds of the 30 Chapter One fourteen Type III informants [used] as a control group representing speakers of regional standard English for the upper Midwest atlas, proving beyond doubt that all these good folks were college educated speakers, from farmers to physicians and librarians to high school principals, who used ain't in their spoken discourse. (p. 14) The off-shoot of the Webster's Third fiasco was the creation of a Usage Panel by the publishers of Webster's rival, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the panel which Geoff Nunberg headed 40 years later.

The man of mode or, Sir Fopling Flutter. A comedy. W. B. ). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. (Original work published 1676). Farmer, John S. (1890). Slang and its analogues past and present. Vol. —A to Byz. London, UK: Published by subscription. Unknown printer. Farquhar, George. (1898). The beaux-stratagem. H. ). London, UK: J. M. Dent & Company. (Original work published 1707). Hacker, Diana. ). Preface. Language debates. com/bedhandbook6e/. Jespersen, Otto. (1940). A modern English grammar on historical principles.

In short, I found even the most minimal acknowledgment of the mere existence of ain't in only 15 of the 37 general sites I investigated, or 41% of the total. In contrast, of the 28 business-writing-focused sites I later searched for discussion of ain't, even less attention was devoted to warning readers about the word's use, while at least as much actual use of ain't in text or titles was found on these sites as on the more general ones.

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