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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    ainīt

    How common is it for natives to use ainīt in conversations? Would it sound natural if a foreigner used it?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: ainīt

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    How common is it for natives to use ainīt in conversations? Would it sound natural if a foreigner used it?
    It's used fairly frequently by natives, but it's very informal and casual. We wouldn't use it in a formal work environment, for instance.

    I don't see a problem with non-natives using it, but it would sound strange if their English wasn't already good, fluent and they weren't just trying to use it for show!

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    #3

    Re: ainīt

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    How common is it for natives to use ainīt in conversations? Would it sound natural if a foreigner used it?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Beachboy.

    (1) What an interesting question.

    (2) When you say "natives," you have to understand that in the United

    States -- as in all other countries -- people belong to different economic

    and social classes.

    (a) I think that in certain groups, "ain't" is used frequently -- even

    "normally."

    (i) I'm a senior citizen (old person), so I do not listen to or like most of

    today's music, but I think that "ain't" is used in some of today's music

    for young people, ain't it?

    (b) I really think that if anyone regularly used "ain't" in his/her speech,

    s/he would never get elected to a high governmental position. Surely, the

    American people would be embarrassed if their president were an "ain't"

    user.

    (3) I'll end my post with a personal observation:

    I spent many years among teenagers and adults who were learning English,

    and I was astounded that I never heard any of them use that word.

    Not once in many years did I ever hear it. I thought they would pick it up

    from popular culture. I was dead wrong.

    (4) Most Americans ain't going to use "ain't" because it is considered

    a sign of an uneducated person.

    (a) "Educated" people might occasionally use it for fun and emphasis:

    Martha: Did you see Mona yesterday? She is getting so old!!!

    Joe: Ain't that the truth!!!

    (5) I suggest that you never use it. If you do, people ain't gonna

    respect you or give you a good job.

    ***** Thank you for your question *****

    P. S. That's why we say: I am your best friend, aren't I?

    Nobody wants to say: I am your best friend, ain't I?
    Last edited by TheParser; 26-Jun-2010 at 16:56.

  3. beachboy's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: ainīt

    Youīve talked me out of using it. I ainīt gonna, I mean, Iīll never say such word in my conversations...

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: ainīt

    The word "ain't" is used fairly commonly, especially informally. How much it is used varies from individual to individual. Indeed, you might expect me to use it in a phrase such as this: "Does he expect me to do that? It ain't gonna happen!" I don't think I should look down on somebody and consider that person uneducated because he uses "ain't". Some people might do so. That is up to them.


  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: ainīt

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    Youīve talked me out of using it. I ainīt gonna, I mean, Iīll never say such word in my conversations...
    Oh, it has its place, occasionally! As was previously posted "Ain't that the truth" is sometimes the only appropriate phrase!!

    Or "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it" just doesn't have the same ring to it if you say "It isn't what you do..."

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: ainīt

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    Youīve talked me out of using it. I ainīt gonna, I mean, Iīll never say such word in my conversations...
    It's used uncommonly in AusE. And when it's used, it's sub-standard. (This might not be the case is the US, perhaps because it's normal(?) in African American Vernacular.)
    If you use "I done it" for "I did it", you might also use "ain't".

  7. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: ainīt

    "Ain't" is not a mark of African-American vernacular, but it is socio-economically inferior in the north and on the coasts in North America. In the South, and the Mid-West, it's ordinary and sounds neither "high-falutin'" nor "snake-belly low."


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    #9

    Re: ainīt

    It is very common in the American South, not just among African-Americans. It also has a plain-spoken truth quality to it, even among educated New Englanders. My favorite example of an irreplaceable use of the word "ain't" is something a family friend is fond of saying. He was a social worker for many years before he retired, and one term that really annoyed him was "dysfunctional family." The term is so broadly defined as to be essentially useless; what family doesn't have some unhealthy patterns? His view was, "if it ain't dysfunctional, it ain't a family."

    I would recommend English language learners avoid using the term "ain't" until they have a very firm grasp of its nuances. Americans have a curious love-hate relationship with the educated and intelligent; we revere, exalt, and quote them when they agree with us, and slam, shun, and belittle them as elitist and out of touch when they don't. Likewise, we view people as plain-spoken and common-sense when they voice our opinions in nonstandard English, but decry them as ignorant hicks when they use the same words to state something we find objectionable. Our last president was really good at the sort of folksy, non-intellectual speech patterns that appeal to many Americans, but there were quite a few of us who hated his guts and thought he was too dim to wipe his own butt, and couldn't wait to elect Obama. (I still can't believe we let W. get away with mispronouncing "nuclear!" Every time!) It's difficult for even native speakers to gauge their audience's receptiveness to informal language, and doubly so for non-native speakers. When in doubt, use standard English.

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