•  
  •  
 

University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper investigates the use of 'ain't' in past tense contexts in African American English (AAE) using a corpus of recorded speech collected in Philadelphia in the early 1980s. A study of 42 speakers' rates of use of 'ain't' in past tense contexts finds increase toward 'ain't' in both real and apparent time. This increase is stronger among speakers born and raised in Philadelphia compared to those who migrated there from the South, supporting previous work linking innovation in AAE to linguistic segregation in the urban North during the Great Migration. Finally, this paper uses data from the morphological form of verbs following 'ain't' in past and perfect contexts to argue that the use of 'ain't' for 'didn't' resulted from the reanalysis of present perfect constructions containing 'ain't'.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.