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"Ain't" in the North

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If you identify as a Northerner, can you please tell me if you've heard older generations use "ain't"? And also where you're from, please?

Thanks so much!  :thankyou
#1 - July 17, 2016, 01:13 PM
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Er, nope (greater Boston area).
#2 - July 17, 2016, 01:17 PM
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My 93YO dad is from NJ, from an immigrant/immigrant background, and absolutely does not use ain't. (He does say "youse," though!)
#3 - July 17, 2016, 01:45 PM

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It was common but considered low-class nonstandard in central Ohio when I was growing up. Teachers used to intone, "Ain't ain't in the dictionary." I think its use depended on where your ancestors came from. If they--or the dominant strain in your family--came from certain parts of the British Isles, "ain't" was acceptable even among genteel folk.

There's a fascinating book called Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, that explains a lot of about how regional accents and idioms in the US depend on where in England the original colonists came from, and it's way more complicated than just Scotch-Irish = Appalachia.
#4 - July 17, 2016, 02:00 PM

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Suburban southeastern PA: I never heard anyone in the 2 generations above me use "ain't" unless it was in a joke.
#5 - July 17, 2016, 02:03 PM

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I want to say that Lord Peter Wimsey uses ain't on occasion. And he is anything BUT low class!
#6 - July 17, 2016, 03:25 PM

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Not in north Jersey.
#7 - July 17, 2016, 03:28 PM

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Nope (CT/MA).
#8 - July 17, 2016, 03:43 PM

In the north, I've lived in central upstate NY and in mid-coast Maine. Yes...some older folks used it. Some used it "not knowing better" while others would use if it fit a saying, such as "Well, ain't that a kick in the pants."

(But younger generations used it as well. Less likely, though, because it was part of a saying. It could be part of their vocabulary...perhaps, though, to sharpen a point they were making or something??? E.g.: I AIN'T drivin' that truck!)
#9 - July 17, 2016, 03:45 PM
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That's how I've heard it, too, Arona--as an intensifier, and used with awareness (not just bad grammar).
#10 - July 17, 2016, 04:27 PM
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I use it, but again with awareness to make my point. As in, "Ain't no way in () you're going out in that dress in this weather."

I do think kids know it. Not sure how much they use it. I'm in my mid 40s and on Long Island, NY.
#11 - July 17, 2016, 09:19 PM
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Nope in Western NY.
#12 - July 18, 2016, 06:29 PM
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Vermont here and no, not unless you're using it ironically or sarcastically. I never heard my grandfather or older generations use it unless it was something like, "That ain't good." It wasn't part of general speech.
#13 - July 19, 2016, 07:56 AM
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I live in Philadelphia and "ain't" would only be used deliberately for effect, as others have said.

I think a more common marker of less educated speech (if that's what you are looking for) is "don't" for "doesn't," as in, "Kelly don't like that."
#14 - July 19, 2016, 10:33 AM
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 10:36 AM by Kell »
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Yes, I have. From Minnesota originally and my Michigan grandfather, who had a high school education and was came to the US as a baby, used it once or twice. My California grandparents used it, too, but only ever ironically.

Also heard a Californian use it recently but it definitely wasn't being used ironically and he was only about 15 years older than myself.
#15 - July 19, 2016, 12:04 PM
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 12:05 PM by stephanie-lucianovic »
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When I was a kid in Western PA, yes. It was a blue collar area. I haven't heard anyone use it since, at least not that I can remember.
#16 - July 19, 2016, 02:42 PM

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Yes. My mom's family uses it. SD farm country.
#17 - July 20, 2016, 08:47 AM
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I'm not a Northerner. Bred, born, raised in the South (Tennessee). That said, the only time anyone would say ain't growing up was when they were out of earshot of teachers and parents. We got the whole "ain't ain't in the dictionary" thing also. Teachers, I imagine, were heartbroken when it got put in there.

Today, I really enjoy using the phrase. As others said, it's said with awareness and there are only certain people I'll use it around, but I ain't afraid to let one fly now and then.
#18 - July 20, 2016, 11:14 AM

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 I was raised in Michigan but my mother was from Arkansas.  She never used "ain't", but neither were we explicitly forbidden from doing so. It's just a contraction for "am not".  How it got such a bad reputation and became so deprecated is anyone's guess.
#19 - July 20, 2016, 12:28 PM
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