Don't as 3rd. sg.
Posted by The Mysterious H.C. on August 05, 1998 at 20:37:25:
In response to she don't , written by Constanza on August 05, 1998 at 12:23:31
] I've found that form in Cecilia, Evelina and some of G. Heyer's books(I think I saw it somewhere in MP but cannot find it now). At first I thought it was a typo, but it happens too often for being one... Is that an old form? Can somebody explain? Please?
Third person singular "don't" hasn't been accepted in formal written style, but has been apparently been quite widespread in the speech even of some quite respectable groups (Woodrow Wilson is supposed to have used it, I think I remember reading in Mencken's "American Language").
The whole correctness in speech thing can be very complicated --- upwardly-mobile middle class types tend to be the most self-conciously "correct", as an outward badge of their gentility, while upper-class types who feel secure in their upper-classness have been known to be less correct (thus the stereotype of the English lord who talks of "huntin', fishin', and shootin'").
I don't remember whether Austen uses third person singular "don't", but she does use "you was" and "ain't" as a mark of those vulgarly undereducated characters who haven't improved their minds through reading, more than as a mark of class status as such, I think; I have a few remarks at http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/austhlis.html#X11 and linked to from there...
- She don't, he ain't, you was etc Linden 02:31:40 8/06/98 (0)
- 3rd person don't Kathi 00:38:49 8/06/98 (1)
- ESL and Austen Mary B 10:48:43 8/07/98 (0)
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