She don't, he ain't, you was etc
Posted by Linden on August 06, 1998 at 02:31:40:
In response to Don't as 3rd. sg., written by The Mysterious H.C. on August 05, 1998 at 20:37:25
] 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.
Yes: in JA's time such usage was not likely to be found in the typical Austen strata of gentry - but aristocrats who didn't give a damn what anyone thought of their speech might use them, as might the Miss Steeles in S&S (on the way up, but not there yet.)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.