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"Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity? - UniLang

"Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

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"Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Mars80 » 2014-10-08, 18:49

Did this originate as a hypercorrection from nonrhotic speakers attempting to speak rhoticallyʔ I've read there was a form "an't I?" which may have been pronounce /ɑnt aɪ/ by some. Did it get hypercorrected to /ɑrnt aɪ/ when they were attempting to speak rhotically, and thus created the form "aren't I"?

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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Lauren » 2014-10-08, 18:58

It could be that it was confused with "amn't" which apparently can be pronounced /ænt/, possibly with a similar vowel to "aren't" in some areas of the UK. Then it wouldn't be that much of a leap to hypercorrecting "amn't" to "aren't" or something like that.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Koko » 2014-10-09, 3:24

Considering "Aren't I?" is used by rhotic speakers mindlessly, I don't think it's got anything to do with hypercorrection by non-rhotic speakers. I doubt it would've gotten as wide a usage as it does if it was a hypercorrection: why would so many just decide to make use of it?

"Amn't I?" sounds dumb anyways (prolly a reason for the above question if your theory were true). I can't think of anyone who would ever use it. Plus, to question "Aren't I?" begs many similar questions like "Why is it 'Is it not?' but 'Isn't it?'" "What's up with the change on order?" It's just how it is IMO.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Viridzen » 2014-10-10, 21:06

Koko wrote:"Amn't I?" sounds dumb anyways (prolly a reason for the above question if your theory were true). I can't think of anyone who would ever use it. Plus, to question "Aren't I?" begs many similar questions like "Why is it 'Is it not?' but 'Isn't it?'" "What's up with the change on order?" It's just how it is IMO.

I happen to use "amn't" way more than "aren't", since "aren't" is wrong for the first person. It's not "I are", it's "I am", so I say "amn't". I say it like ['ɛm.ɪnt]. I'm quite the iconoclast, amn't I? (I'm so so sorry, I just had to.)
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-10-10, 21:50

Koko wrote:Considering "Aren't I?" is used by rhotic speakers mindlessly, I don't think it's got anything to do with hypercorrection by non-rhotic speakers. I doubt it would've gotten as wide a usage as it does if it was a hypercorrection: why would so many just decide to make use of it?

Because it fills the gap left by stigmatisation of ain't.

Koko wrote:"Amn't I?" sounds dumb anyways (prolly a reason for the above question if your theory were true). I can't think of anyone who would ever use it.

I guess you don't know any Irish people. It only "sounds dumb" to you because you're not familiar with it.

Koko wrote:Plus, to question "Aren't I?" begs many similar questions like "Why is it 'Is it not?' but 'Isn't it?'" "What's up with the change on order?" It's just how it is IMO.

None of these makes any sense. What change in order? And both "Isn't it?" and "Is it not?" are acceptable in English, with one being more colloquial and the other rather stilted.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Koko » 2014-10-10, 22:37

Question of order was in connection with isn't/is it not.

How is "aren't I?" incorrect? It's just irregular and only appears in questions. Would the use of subjunctive "I were" incorrect, then, Because "I were there" is wrong for "I was there" in the indicative sense? There's a change of mood (interrogative —> indicative) that you're arguing for the incorrectness of "aren't I?" :| .
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Viridzen » 2014-10-10, 23:38

Koko wrote:How is "aren't I?" incorrect? It's just irregular and only appears in questions. Would the use of subjunctive "I were" incorrect, then, Because "I were there" is wrong for "I was there" in the indicative sense? There's a change of mood (interrogative —> indicative) that you're arguing for the incorrectness of "aren't I?" :| .

Oh shoot, I didn't think of that... well, you may be right. I still like "amn't", though. :)
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Koko » 2014-10-11, 0:00

And I still think it sounds dumb. I have no doubt my mind wouldn't be changed if I got used to hearing (I'd get used to it at best). Silly Irish and your "amn't."
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-10-11, 0:07

Koko wrote:And I still think it sounds dumb. I have no doubt my mind wouldn't be changed if I got used to hearing (I'd get used to it at best).

Aw, the wisdom of youth at its finest!
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Koko » 2014-10-11, 0:18

Excuse me sir! But many times I say that my mind won't be changed it never changes. And for something as awkward (and dumb) to say and hear as "amn't" this has a high chance of me keeping the quality of dumbness.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Lauren » 2014-10-11, 0:19

Koko wrote:Excuse me sir! But many times I say that my mind won't be changed it never changes. And for something as awkward (and dumb) to say and hear as "amn't" this has a high chance of me keeping the quality of dumbness.

You're 15. You have a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go in life still. I've changed a shitload in the last 5 years, including no longer thinking that there aren't ways I could drastically change.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Koko » 2014-10-11, 0:26

As soon as I am accepted into the Florentine life and as one of her own, I will be okay to get run over by a bus. In that time, I don't plan to go to Ireland nor do I expect to encounter many(if any) Irishmen (<-neutre) in Italy. I probably will go visit Wales, which has a higher chance of Irish encounters but I wouldn't be there long enough to get use to it (should I even meet one and the oppurtunity arives that they need to say "amn't"). Do you two expect me to move to Ireland or something?
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Lauren » 2014-10-11, 1:38

Koko wrote:As soon as I am accepted into the Florentine life and as one of her own, I will be okay to get run over by a bus. In that time, I don't plan to go to Ireland nor do I expect to encounter many(if any) Irishmen (<-neutre) in Italy. I probably will go visit Wales, which has a higher chance of Irish encounters but I wouldn't be there long enough to get use to it (should I even meet one and the oppurtunity arives that they need to say "amn't"). Do you two expect me to move to Ireland or something?

No, I'm just saying that you can't and don't have any idea how you're going to change in the future.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Viridzen » 2014-10-11, 2:00

Koko wrote:And I still think it sounds dumb. I have no doubt my mind wouldn't be changed if I got used to hearing (I'd get used to it at best).

You have that right. I know it sounds silly, but that’s exactly why I use it. That, and because my synesthesia (or whatever) will not permit two “happy sounds” (including r and n) to be next to each other if I can possibly avoid it.
Do you two expect me to move to Ireland or something?

You mean you’re…not?! I’m kidding. I actually don’t see why people would go this far with trying to convince you that your belief about the aren’t/amn’t debate is wrong. It’s more of a matter of opinion, personal preference, and dialect. That stuff is usually not compromisable. We’re getting quite off-topic, though, aren’t we? (Oh my, that didn’t even use the first person singular, I should just stop...)

But, back on topic, I agree with Koko that it is probably a conditional/interrogative mood form, rather than a hypercorrection. I mean, look at “was”: the indicative is “I was”, such as “I was a quirky child”, but the conditional is “I were”, as in “If I were a quirky child”. The last sound became –r. I don’t know if it’s the same deal here, just that it’s entirely possible that Koko’s right.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-10-11, 2:47

Viridzen wrote:But, back on topic, I agree with Koko that it is probably a conditional/interrogative mood form, rather than a hypercorrection. I mean, look at “was”: the indicative is “I was”, such as “I was a quirky child”, but the conditional is “I were”, as in “If I were a quirky child”. The last sound became –r. I don’t know if it’s the same deal here, just that it’s entirely possible that Koko’s right.

Is there any evidence at all for this sort of usage in the entire history of English?

Were is not the "conditional" of was; depending on your analysis it's the "subjunctive" (traditional) or the "irrealis" (the view of Pullum and others). The parallel form corresponding to am is not are, it's be, e.g. "If I be waspish, best beware my sting." (Shakespeare)

I'm not necessarily sold on the hypercorrection hypothesis, but at least it's coherent.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Viridzen » 2014-10-11, 20:13

linguoboy wrote:
Viridzen wrote:But, back on topic, I agree with Koko that it is probably a conditional/interrogative mood form, rather than a hypercorrection. I mean, look at “was”: the indicative is “I was”, such as “I was a quirky child”, but the conditional is “I were”, as in “If I were a quirky child”. The last sound became –r. I don’t know if it’s the same deal here, just that it’s entirely possible that Koko’s right.

Is there any evidence at all for this sort of usage in the entire history of English?

Were is not the "conditional" of was; depending on your analysis it's the "subjunctive" (traditional) or the "irrealis" (the view of Pullum and others). The parallel form corresponding to am is not are, it's be, e.g. "If I be waspish, best beware my sting." (Shakespeare)

I'm not necessarily sold on the hypercorrection hypothesis, but at least it's coherent.

I meant subjunctive or something. I don't know. I meant "are" could be conditional or interrogative. We use it interrogtively in English, so it's basically the interrogative form.
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-10-11, 21:55

Viridzen wrote:I meant subjunctive or something. I don't know. I meant "are" could be conditional or interrogative. We use it interrogtively in English, so it's basically the interrogative form.

Are it? Because, if that are true, then it are the case that I've been speaking the language incorrectly all this time, aren't it?

(I would say it's an interrogative form, i.e. one of many. And that the conditional form of be--both declarative and interrogative--is would be.)
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Lauren » 2014-10-11, 21:59

linguoboy wrote:
Viridzen wrote:I meant subjunctive or something. I don't know. I meant "are" could be conditional or interrogative. We use it interrogtively in English, so it's basically the interrogative form.

Are it? Because, if that are true, then it are the case that I've been speaking the language incorrectly all this time, aren't it?

(I would say it's an interrogative form, i.e. one of many. And that the conditional form of be is would be. YMMV.)

You might be nitpicking a bit... :whistle:
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-10-11, 23:16

Lowena wrote:You might be nitpicking a bit... :whistle:

Can you explain what you mean?
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Re: "Aren't I?" A hypercorrection from nonrhoticity?

Postby Lauren » 2014-10-12, 0:40

I mean, I think it's likely Viridzen knows "are" is not the only interrogative form of the been in question.
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