it's not/it isn't

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it's not/it isn't

Postby Anders » Thu 02 Jul 2009 7:09 pm

We still have no forum for Q.s about English so I post here.

What is the difference between it's not and it isn't?

Maybe we should introduse it'sn't ;)
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby dtp883 » Thu 02 Jul 2009 7:15 pm

The only difference is where you want to contract the words. I don't think it'sn't would catch on where I live. But I know a bunch of people who use shouldn't've couldn't've and wouldn't've because that's how they say it when talking.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby linguoboy » Thu 02 Jul 2009 9:06 pm

Anders wrote:What is the difference between it's not and it isn't?

Emphasis. Isn't is neutral whereas 's not put emphasis on the negation.

Maybe we should introduse it'sn't ;)

You couldn't; it violates the prosodic rules of English negation.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby dreaminjosh » Fri 03 Jul 2009 6:49 pm

dtp883 wrote:The only difference is where you want to contract the words. I don't think it'sn't would catch on where I live. But I know a bunch of people who use shouldn't've couldn't've and wouldn't've because that's how they say it when talking.


I'm one of those people. Well, kind of... Whenever I say those, in rapid speech, they usually come out "shouldn'a, wouldn'a, and couldn'a". I think it's because I live in the South. Though my accent is fairly neutral, depending on who I'm around it tends to slide into a drawl. Especially now that I work in Gastonia. People there actually pronounce the word "light", "lat" (or something closer to that).
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Declan » Fri 03 Jul 2009 10:08 pm

linguoboy wrote:You couldn't; it violates the prosodic rules of English negation.

Yes, in my dialect at least, it's not a possible contraction.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby dreaminjosh » Sat 04 Jul 2009 6:58 am

Declan wrote:
linguoboy wrote:You couldn't; it violates the prosodic rules of English negation.

Yes, in my dialect at least, it's not a possible contraction.


I don't think it's possible in any. It's really awkward to say, too.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby linguoboy » Sat 04 Jul 2009 7:56 am

dreaminjosh wrote:I don't think it's possible in any.

This was the conclusion Zwicky and Pullum came to more than twenty-five years ago when they examined its behaviour in detail and determined that it was an inflectional ending rather than a clitic. I haven't seen anything since then to persuade me otherwise.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Stosis » Sat 07 Nov 2009 11:13 pm

linguoboy wrote:
dreaminjosh wrote:I don't think it's possible in any.

This was the conclusion Zwicky and Pullum came to more than twenty-five years ago when they examined its behaviour in detail and determined that it was an inflectional ending rather than a clitic. I haven't seen anything since then to persuade me otherwise.

Can you post a link or a reference? I'm intrigued.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby linguoboy » Sun 08 Nov 2009 9:52 am

The reference is "Zwicky & Pullum on clitics and inflections" (Language, 1983). Arnold Zwicky has a link to the PDF on his homepage.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Anders » Sun 08 Nov 2009 3:00 pm

How does it sound to you natives to make a contraction like this:

No, you mayn't. (= may not)

There is another thing I wonder. Would a regular anglophone understand this:

What does it be? (= 'What is it', expressed with do-support as English use to use to construct questions)

How does it sound to you if one doesn't make do-support at verbs that usually have them when asking questions? Is it understandable for a regular anglophone? For example:

Understand you? (= Do you understand)
What play you? (= What do you play)

I mean, this wordorder is normal with some verb: is it?, How could you?? So, the two examples fit in that system.
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