The Pragmatics of AIN’T within Academic and Social Context

Jumanto Jumanto, Rahmanti Asmarani, Sarif Syamsu Rizal, Haryati Sulistyorini


This paper has explored the form, the meaning, and the function of the contraction AIN’T, with the corpus data retrieved from English-affiliated URLs or Websites (web-data), through interpretive techniques and a coding analysis. The utterance AIN’T belongs to non-standard or informal English, which represents or is derived from the forms AM NOT, IS NOT, ARE NOT, HAS NOT, HAVE NOT, DO NOT, DOES NOT, DID NOT, and the others. The meaning of AIN’T implies different aspects, i.e. informality, topic area, low social class, emphasis, and content. The utterance AIN’T is part of close language, or is used for close people for friendship or camaraderie. AIN’T belongs to informal utterances, as it is incomplete, shorter, cut-down (or contracted) from other forms. The utterance AIN’T should be taught academically in classrooms or other teaching and learning encounters as informal language with its various derived constructions, and students or learners should be made aware that AIN’T is part of close language which is used to close people for friendship or camaraderie within interpersonal or social context. Use of AIN’T to not close people or superiors or others in a formal situation may lead to a rude situation, and a probable disharmony entails.        

Keywords: pragmatics; politeness; camaraderie; informal English; AIN’T.

Full Text:



Arundale, Robert. (2010). Constituting face in conversation: face, facework and interactional achievement. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 2078-2105

Audi, Robert, ed. (1999). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Baker, M. J. (2000). Writing a Literature Review. The Marketing Review, 1(2), 219-247.

Bangasser, P. E. (2000). The ILO and the Informal Sector: An Institutional History. Geneva: International Labour Office.

Bohm, A. (2004). “Theoretical coding: text analysis in grounded theory”, in U. Flick, E. Kardorff & I. Steinke (Eds.), A Companion to Qualitative Research. London: SAGE Publications, pp. 270-275.

Bolderston, A. (2008). Writing an Effective Literature Review. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 39, 86-92.

Bousfield, Derek. (2008). Impoliteness in Interaction. John Benjamins, Amsterdam. Bousfield, Derek, Culpeper, Jonathan. 2008. Special Issue on “Impoliteness:

Bousfield, Derek, Culpeper, Jonathan. (2008). Special Issue on “Impoliteness: Eclecticism and diaspora”. Journal of Politeness Research 4, 161-337.

Bousfield, Derek, Locher, Miriam (Eds.). (2008). Impoliteness in Language. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, Penelope, Levinson, Stephen. (1978). Universals in language usage: politeness phenomena. In: Goody, Esther (Ed.), Questions and Politeness. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 56-311.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, R., & Gilman, A. (1968). The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity. In J. A. Fishman (Ed.), Readings in the Sociology of Language (pp. 252–275). The Hague: Mouton & Co. N.V. Publishers.

Chang, Wei-Lin Melody & Haugh, Michael. (2011). Strategic embarrassment and face threatening in business interactions. Journal of Pragmatics 43 (12), 2948-2963.

Fraser, Bruce. (1990). Perspectives on politeness. Journal of Pragmatics 14, 219-236.

Fukushima, Saeko. (2000). Requests and Culture: Politeness in British English and Japanese. New York: Peter Lang.

Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books.

Harris, Sandra. (2001). Being politically impolite: extending politeness theory to adversarial political discourse. Discourse and Society 12, 451-472.

Haugh, Michael. (2010a). Jocular mockery, (dis)affiliation, and face. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 2106-2119.

Haugh, Michael & Bargiela-Chiappini, Francesca. (2010). Face in interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 2073-2077.

Heintz, James. (2012). ‘Informality, Inclusiveness, and Economic Growth: An Overview of Key Issues’, SIG WORKING PAPER 2012/2. Amherst, USA: Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, July 2012.

Holloway, I. (1997). Basic concepts for qualitative research. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd.

Jumanto, J. (2006). Phatic communication among English native speakers, an Unpublished PhD Dissertation Thesis. Jakarta, Indonesia: Universitas Indonesia.

Jumanto, J. (2014a). Politeness and Camaraderie: How Types of Form Matter in Indonesian Context. Proceeding: The Second International Conference on Education and Language (2nd ICEL). Bandar Lampung University (UBL), Indonesia.

Jumanto, J. (2014b). Towards a Character Language: A Probability in Language Use, Open Journal of Modern Linguistics (OJML), 2014(4): 333-349. 2018 Thomson-Reuters Indexing,

Jumanto, J., Rizal, S.S., & Nugroho, R.A. (2017). Acting the Intangible: Hints of Politeness in Non-Verbal Form, English Language Teaching, 10 (11), 2017, 111-118.

Kanbur, Ravi. (2009). ‘Conceptualising Informality: Regulation and Enforcement’, at www.people., February, 2009.

Leech, G. (1983). Principles of Pragmatics. New York: Longman.

O’Driscoll, Jim. (2007). What’s in an FTA? Reflections on a chance meeting with Claudine. Journal of Politeness Research 3, 243-268.

People Magazine. (1998). Donald Trump: “I ain’t gay but 20 dollars is 20 dollars”, in People Magazine, Jess Cagle (ed.). New York: Time Inc.

Pérez de Ayala, Soledad. (2001). FTAs and Erskine May: Conflicting needs? - politeness in question time. Journal of Pragmatics 33, 143-169.

Renkema, J. (1993). Discourse Studies: An Introductory Textbook. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Saladana, J. (2012). “The coding manual for qualitative researchers”, Sage, ISBN 1446247376. London: SAGE Publications.

Sifianou, Maria. (2013). The Impact of Globalisation on Politeness and Impoliteness, Journal of Pragmatics 55 (2013) 86-102.

Sindzingre, Alice. (2006). ‘The Relevance of the Concepts of Formality and Informality: A Theoretical Appraisal’ in Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: Concepts and Policies, Basudeb Guha-Khasnobies, Ravi Kanbur, and Elinor Ostrom eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, UNU-WIDER Studies in Development Economics and EGDI.

Spencer-Oatey, Helen. (2009). Face, identity and interactional goals. In: Bargiela- Chiappini, Francesca, Haugh, Michael (Eds.), Face, Communication and Social Interaction. London: Equinox, pp. 137-154.

Stewart, Miranda. (2008). Protecting speaker’s face in impolite exchanges: the negotiation of face-wants in workplace interaction. Journal of Politeness Research 4, 31-54.

Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques. California: Sage Publications.

Su, Lily I-wen & Huang, Shu-ping. (2002). Harmonious face threatening acts and politeness: a special consideration. National Taiwan Working Papers in Linguistics 5, 175-202.

Tracy, Karen. (2008). “Reasonable hostility”: situation-appropriate face-attack. Journal of Politeness Research 4, 169-191.

Turner, Ken. (1996). The principal principles of pragmatic inference: politeness. Language Teaching 29, 1-13.

Watts, Richard. (1989). Relevance and relational work: linguistic politeness as politic behaviour. Multilingua 8, 131-166.

Watts, Richard. (2003). Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Webster, J. & Watson, R.T. (2002). “Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: writing a literature review”, MIS Quarterly, 26(2), xiii-xxiii.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Jumanto Jumanto, Rahmanti Asmarani, Sarif Syamsu Rizal, Haryati Sulistyorini

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

In the aim of improving the quality of the Journal since 19th October 2016 this journal officially had made cooperation with ELITE Association Indonesia (The association of Teachers of English Linguistics, Literature & Education). See The MoU Manuscript.