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Were contractions less common in olden days?

I have read some old books in which they did not use "didn't", "wasn't", or similar contractions with "not". I just watched the recent movie "True Grit" in which they also didn't use "didn't", etc. Were these contractions a recent or regional addition to the language?

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marked as duplicate by jwpat7, onomatomaniak, kiamlaluno, Matt Эллен, z7sg Ѫ Jan 9 '12 at 14:16

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
The recent True Grit was a remake of a John Wayne True Grit from 1969. –  Mahnax Jan 9 '12 at 6:42
    
The "exact duplicate" question refers to contractions in general, not "not". In that question, the only answer in reference to "not" contractions includes a dead link. A question closed as an exact duplicate should be answered in the duplicate. This one is not (isn't). –  xpda Jan 9 '12 at 15:46
    
So? You're even asking about the same movie. –  Mahnax Jan 9 '12 at 15:49
    
Read the first sentence. Even so, if every question in this site referred to a movie, it would not make those questions duplicates of one another. –  xpda Jan 9 '12 at 15:53
    
Goodness. The fundamentals of the questions are exactly the same, ergo yours is a dupe. –  Mahnax Jan 9 '12 at 15:58
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Barren Brainerd published a paper - The contractions of not: A historical note.” Journal of English Linguistics 22:176-196 in 1989, in which he noted that the contraction of not first appeared in writing in 1700s, increased in 1800s, and were more or less accepted in 1900s.

The actual paper which Brainerd published is not accessible, but here is the source which talks about it. Refer to page 26.

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The OED’s earliest citation for don’t under the entry for do is dated 1672 and for didn’t, 1775. The earliest citation for won’t under the entry for will is 1710.

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