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    #1

    'taint / 'tain't

    Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
    “It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
    Yet ‘taint being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
    So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”
    http://wordinfo.info/unit/2640

    Which spelling is correct, 'taint or 'tain't? What does it mean?
    I need native speakers' help.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    I prefer the second. They both mean "it is not."

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    #3

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    I prefer the second. They both mean "it is not."
    ‘tain't being dead = it is not being dead.

    What does it is not being dead mean?
    I need native speakers' help.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    You seriously do not know what "it is not being dead" means? It means "being alive".

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    Yet ‘taint being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains

    It is not the thought/idea/fear of being dead (that pains me); it is my awful fear of the freezing grave that pains me.

  4. Skrej's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    I recognized this without looking at the source - "The Cremation of Sam McGee', by Robert W. Service.

    I used to have this almost entirely memorized, from doing it as a Humorous Interpretation piece in high school forensics.

    The best part is when he opens the furnace door, and the dead guy roasting inside tells him to close the door because it's the first time he's been warm since he left Tennessee.

    Not really serious poetry from a technical standpoint, but sure is fun to read aloud.

    Now back on topic - 'taint is non-standard slang, an abbreviation of it ain't, which is itself non-standard usage.

    It's more typical of Southern US slang, also in Western (cowboy) lingo.

    I still hear it occasionally in my area. I'll use it on rare occasion when talking to certain groups of people, 'cause there 'taint no reason not ta speak likes regular folks when you're trying to assimilate, or haggle for a better deal on something....

    Since it's non-standard, I don't know that you can affirmatively say there's any one correct spelling, it's probably just a matter of preference.

    However, since you cite a source, what makes you question the author's spelling?
    Last edited by Skrej; 01-Dec-2015 at 08:59. Reason: tpyo
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #7

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    Quote Originally Posted by Skrej View Post
    However, since you cite a source, what makes you question the author's spelling?
    The poem with the spelling 'tain't is quoted in Holman Old Testament Commentary, Proverbs, which I am reading now.
    I Googled the poem and found another spelling on the Internet.
    I need native speakers' help.

  5. Skrej's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    Ah, I see. Well, like I said, it's non-standard, so I don't think there's any one definitive way to spell it.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #9

    Re: 'taint / 'tain't

    Some people write Rock n' Roll, others Rock 'n' Roll. When there are a number of apostrophes is a non-standard form, I wouldn't lose any sleep over omitting one.

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