Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Logophile’s Lounge: The “Ain’t” Revival

Quaint, folksy, yet long stigmatized, the controversial "ain't" is witnessing a renaissance among the American intelligentsia, in its proper form only. After centuries of eking out an existence at the margins of society, "ain't" is now infiltrating established institutions and casual dialogue. Plabnox has conducted vigorous field research and compiled a guide to appropriate usage of the venerable term. Please see meticulously culled examples below to learn how to incorporate “ain’t” into your working vocabulary:

Scene 1: The Embedded, Formal "Ain't"
DR. SWINNARD: Thank you for calling the President's Office of Columbia University. I ain't available to take your call, but if you kindly leave a message containing your contact information, I will return your call promptly.

**A common mistake is the pairing of "ain't" with a nominative plural. E.g., in the above statement, had Dr. Swinnard spoken, "We ain't available to take your call," she would have been the laughingstock of her community. This pairing is a heinous error and will only bring shame and ignominy upon the utterer and her household.

Scene 2: The Casual, yet Professional "Ain't"
T.H.: Dr. Perofovich, can you refill my prescription over the phone?
DR. PEROFOVICH: I'm sorry, I ain't able to refill that medication without an in-person visit.


In other lexical gossip, "hain't", the dark and elusive sister of "ain't," has resurrected herself as well. A contraction of “have” or "has," and “not,” “hain’t” may be substituted for any occurrence of “haven’t” or "has."

Hypothetical

DR. DOSKY: Though I love cats, I hain’t adopted one because I dislike supporting a dependent.

3 comments:

Jacqueline Stuart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacqueline Stuart said...

Dear Plablognox Publishers,

I am a middle school teacher and am in desperate need of your new grammar book, I hain't got no grammar. My students are not understanding the lexicon and I am equally as confounded. The administrators here are threatening to fire me if I do not get with the program. My reply to them was, "We teachers ain't gonna take this abuse," and I quickly realized as the words left my lips that I had made a grave mistake in my grammar. Obviously I am in a lot of hot water. Please help me out!

Sincerely,

Dorothea Untaglischtness

Plablognox said...

Dear Dorothea,

I feel the best solution is to practice using "ain't" in a variety of social situations. Others with similar pathologies have had success invoking "ain't" in interviews, when ordering food in restaurants, upon being introduced to a new acquaintance, and in the O.R.

Helpfully,
Dr. Swinnard
Plabnox Cures