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Pedants' corner

Amn't I

(36 Posts)
FarNorth Fri 19-Jul-19 22:37:30

Can anyone explain why 'amn't I' is wrong and we have to say 'aren't I'?

Bathsheba Fri 19-Jul-19 22:41:02

I'm with you on this - I've always thought the Irish have this the right way.

Tangerine Fri 19-Jul-19 22:42:27

I suppose it's just how the English language has evolved.

BradfordLass72 Fri 19-Jul-19 22:47:31

Jane Austen and her contemporaries used it but I suppose we have altered it over time for easier vocal use in the lamentable way people are changing probably to 'prolly'.
I am grumpy, am not I?

I are grumpy, are not I? doesn't quite sound right does it smile but as a contraction it seems to work. wink

crazyH Fri 19-Jul-19 22:49:05

I've wondered that too.....probably 3 consonants together?....mnt ?

FarNorth Fri 19-Jul-19 22:50:33

We don't say 'I amn't' either but at least we replace it with 'I'm not'.

MaizieD Fri 19-Jul-19 23:42:46

I am grumpy, am not I?

But that's not the common word order for the last few words, is it? Wouldn't it be ' I not?' (Though I confess I'd say '..aren't I')

Is it just dialect from your part of the world, FarNorth? I've lived in Essex, Yorkshire, and now the NE, and I've never heard anyone say 'amn't I'. I can't recall that I've ever seen it in Austen, either.

Jangran99 Fri 19-Jul-19 23:50:16

In everyday use here in Scotland, written and spoken form. Who said 'amn't I' is wrong?

BBbevan Sat 20-Jul-19 06:58:44

My mother always said 'I think not'. She said 'I don't think' was wrong as you do think. ! I always thought it was just one of her foibles but it does make sense

sodapop Sat 20-Jul-19 09:11:32

I've heard "amn't I " and must admit it doesn't flow well for me. As crazyH said its probably the three consonants together.

ninathenana Sat 20-Jul-19 12:00:06

It's 'probly' (local pronunciation)' a regional thing. I've never heard amn't I.

MissAdventure Sat 20-Jul-19 12:11:00

I heard it a lot in Scotland.

Never heard it here as we say "Ain't I?" wink

Alexa Sat 20-Jul-19 12:13:18

I speak lowland Scots and say amn't I or am I not. People who speak foreign dialects say aren't I.

Callistemon Sat 20-Jul-19 12:18:23

I've never heard it before - not even from my Scottish friends!

Coolgran65 Sat 20-Jul-19 12:21:44

We use it here in Northern Ireland. We might also pronounce it ... amn’ta.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 20-Jul-19 12:42:44

I assume, but don't know, that the logical form "Amn't I?" is more difficult to say due to m, said by closing the lips, being followed by n, which is formed by placing the tip of the tongue against the front of the hard palate.

Logically, we should say inpossible, but n before p gives the same sort of problem, so the word became impossible.

Anyone with a good knowlege of phonetics to back my assumption up?

Baggs Sat 20-Jul-19 12:59:38

It's not wrong in Dundee, farnorth, not among the Dundee folk I knew, anyway.

annodomini Sat 20-Jul-19 13:24:00

It's part of my idiolect, having been brought up in Scotland, but I can understand that the consonant cluster 'mnt' doesn't sit well in southern speech. As I have lived longer south of the Border than north, I do find myself sometimes using 'aren't I?' which isn't even grammatical! My Norther Irish DiL is with me on this.

mcem Sat 20-Jul-19 13:38:11

You're right there baggs. Still used widely in Dundee.
What bugs me far more is the intrusive (southern) r eg Annar Adams for which there is no logical grammatical reason!

mcem Sat 20-Jul-19 13:39:38

Ps. "I'm not" is equally common but not "aren't i".

Grannycool52 Sat 20-Jul-19 13:57:09

I say 'amn't I'. In my experience it is normal for those of who are Scots Irish and Hiberno English speakers to say 'amn't. I am interested to read that Scottish people do likewise.

Grannycool52 Sat 20-Jul-19 14:15:13

Sorry, 'those of us'. I mean people in both parts of this island.

Nannarose Sat 20-Jul-19 14:37:20

I find this interesting after the posts in Pedants' Corner, by those who are irritated by the way some of us speak.

Language both evolves, and retains parts of old dialects / languages. Where I live, we have quite a distinctive way of referring to 'my' or 'our' something. There are also a few verbs where we use a noun instead of the usual verb, and it then follows its own particular declension. We are not 'wrong', just not 'standard'. I use these in everyday speech, not in any formal setting.

FarNorth Sat 20-Jul-19 15:05:49

I've heard plenty of people saying 'amn't I' but if anyone said it in school they were corrected to 'aren't I'.

Blinko Sat 20-Jul-19 15:09:35

In the Black Country, it's 'Ay I?' smile but DS1 used to say 'Amnt I?' when he was small.