Thursday, March 13, 2014

Amn't I right?


My good blogfriend Stan over at Sentence First waxes eloquent on the topic of "amn't".

Dear readers, you wouldn't believe the shellacking I took for brazenly using "amn't" when I moved to Canada. Laughter, disbelief and mockery ensued.

"Where didja learn da English, eh?" they'd mock - (and I won't start on the use of the Canadian "eh" sprinkled like salt on every sentence that was uttered to me. My ear told me "A" and I was constantly wondering where "B" was.) But this language outcast holds most of these stories for another time. I do not forget. You will get them.

One of Stan's points is we say: "I'm next, --- I?" and we say: "aren't I?" - which is an anomaly of grammar. "Amn't I?" always sounds more correct (and bloody hell - logical) to me.

Anyway, go read Stan's excellent take on this vexation. I'm sure my Irish readers will breathe a sigh of satisfaction.

Amn't I right?

14 comments:

  1. That reminds me of the habitual Italian response to a phone call. When the caller asks "Is that Giovanni?" the other person replies "Sono io" (I am I)

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  2. Amn't I always telling you, your right?

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  3. 'amn't I' is absolutely correct and I wonder why I never realized this before, because 'aren't I' is so obviously wrong.

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  4. I've had to modify my language since arriving in England from Dublin over 40 yrs ago or I would not have been understood. I learnt to re-introduce the h at the end of "with" - as in "what's wrong wit you?" and to cancel it out of where and when. I've had to differentiate between bring and take - "I'll take that home and bring it back tomorrow" - it would have been all brings. You're not allowed do something in England but you are allowed TO do something.
    The biggest shock is having children with English accents
    - Me: " What colour is that?"
    - Her: " It's wuyt."
    Me: "That's right its whhhite!"
    Don't get me started on usen't as in "Usen't you to work with him ?"

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  5. My Scottish roommate in boarding school used to say amn't." I understand why it's logical, but I don't like the sound of it. It makes the most sense when it is used as a question instead of "Am I not," "Amn't I?") But not for when you mean I am not, "I amn't the one." Why in the world wouldn't you just use the more succinct "I'm not the one" instead?

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  6. It ain't that I don't like amn't see.I does like it eh.

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  7. My favorite Englishism is "innit!"

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  8. Thanks for following up on this, WWW. It's strange how amn't is so normal in Ireland (and Scotland) and yet so unusual elsewhere. A couple of people told me they had no idea it wasn't standard English until they read the post.

    Secret Agent Woman, is everything in your dialect the most succinct possible use of language?

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  9. Youse. I don't know if that's still heard, but I do recall being told it was bad grammar, and only used by undeducated people. When studying linguistics I learned (not learnt) it's perfectly correct plural once used by everyine, but now doomed to the uneducated label.

    Ammn't? I think it's hard to say, and doesn't have a vowel where it seems to need one just to get it off your tongue and lips. I'd imagine that's why it fell out of favour.

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  10. Never heard of amn't!!!!!
    You have got me thinking! Good to do that eh!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  11. "Youse" is "you plural" when addressing a group, and widely used in Ireland along the eastern seaboard.
    Sligo friends (in the west) use "ye", pronounced "yee", for "you plural".
    Both are regarded as dialect, and therefore grammatically acceptable.

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  12. It is quaint usage and I don't use it at all. Indians speaking English normally use "isn't it" because equivalent words in all Indian languages is used to punctuate sentences like the Canadian 'eh'!

    And Stan's blog is quite interesting. Thank you.

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  13. Yes, Youse is plural, and what a story about its Canadian use with quite a bit of prejudice.

    Sligo? What is that?

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  14. Sligo is Co Sligo in The Republic of Ireland with a beautiful stretch of west coast and a fine county town of the same name. I've been asked where is Sligo before but never what is Sligo! X

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