it's not/it isn't

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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Talib » Sun 08 Nov 2009 7:06 pm

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

No, you mayn't. (= may not)
Sounds like a generalization from other forms like shan't. So dialectal at best (I don't know if anyone actually says this though).

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)
This sounds unnatural. Semantically, it's like you're implying the subject is ever anything else, and inquiring what is it at the present time. So totally different implications from "what is it?", not to mention it just sounds unnatural.
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)
Sounds like Yoda talking, this does!

Nb: "You understand?" is perfectly acceptable.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby linguoboy » Sun 08 Nov 2009 7:30 pm

Talib wrote:
Anders wrote: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)
This sounds unnatural. Semantically, it's like you're implying the subject is ever anything else, and inquiring what is it at the present time. So totally different implications from "what is it?", not to mention it just sounds unnatural.

Do-support with be is a common feature of Hiberno-English and denotes habituality. (E.g. "He does be late to work" means "He is habitually late to work" whereas "He's late to work" applies only to a particular instance.) I think this may be true of AAVE and some creoles or post-creoles as well. It may be found in other varieties of English, possibly with different aspectual implications, but I couldn't say for sure. It's certainly marginal to my own dialect.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Talib » Sun 08 Nov 2009 9:46 pm

I think you're right about AAVE (he workin' vs. he be workin'), or present vs. continuous tense. I can't say I knew that about Hiberno-English though, which I can't say I'm ever exposed to.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Anders » Sun 08 Nov 2009 9:48 pm

Wow, I found this on wikipedia on the Hiberno-English paige:
Amn't is used as an abbreviation of "am not", by analogy with "isn't" and "aren't". This can be used as a tag question ("I'm making a mistake, amn't I?"), or as an alternative to "I'm not" ("I amn't joking"), and the double negative is also used ("I'm not late, amn't I not?").

Amn't 8-)
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Anders » Sun 08 Nov 2009 9:50 pm

AAVE = African American Vernacular English, is a dialect, ethnolect and sociolect of American English.

Ethnolect - a word to remember.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Stosis » Sun 08 Nov 2009 11:12 pm

linguoboy wrote:The reference is "Zwicky & Pullum on clitics and inflections" (Language, 1983). Arnold Zwicky has a link to the PDF on his homepage.

Thanks!
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Sobekhotep » Mon 09 Nov 2009 1:05 am

Talib wrote:I think you're right about AAVE (he workin' vs. he be workin'), or present vs. continuous tense.

Yup. I talk like that. :D

Anders wrote:AAVE = African American Vernacular English, is a dialect, ethnolect and sociolect of American English.

Traditionally it's an ethnolect (as its name implies) but there are a hell of a lot of non-African Americans who talk like that too.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Declan » Mon 09 Nov 2009 8:50 pm

Talib wrote:I can't say I knew that about Hiberno-English though, which I can't say I'm ever exposed to.

It's pretty old-fashioned now though. Older generations use it heavily, but it's dying out.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby linguoboy » Tue 10 Nov 2009 12:04 am

Declan wrote:It's pretty old-fashioned now though. Older generations use it heavily, but it's dying out.

Strictly speaking, Hiberno-English (as opposed to Irish English) is dying out, since by definition it's English spoken by those whose first language is Irish, and there are very few Irish native-speakers left any more.
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Re: it's not/it isn't

Postby Talib » Tue 10 Nov 2009 2:57 am

Interesting. I assumed it was just English spoken by Irish people, although the Gaelic influence is clear.
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