Please read the passage taken from "A Few Crusted Characters" by Thomas Hardy:

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According to Wiktionary, "bain't" is the contracted form of "be not" and it is a British dialect. Therefore, the question is "Aren't we full already?". In what part of Britain are we likely to hear "bain't"?

By the way, I can't help thinking of "ain't". "Bain't" reminds me of "but ain't", and I believe that's what it is. "Ain't" is used in both Britain and America these days. But I've always thought that "ain't" is originally an Americanism. Am I wrong?

So, if "ain't" is used anywhere, can "bain't" happen to be not that British at all?

Thank you!

  • Irish: "talking to a house-breaker. 1895, Charlotte M. Yonge, The Carbonels, ch. 23: "I baint a-going to give my master's property to a lot of rapscallion thieves and robbers like…" quoted in wordsense.eu/baint – Kris Aug 20 '18 at 8:06
  • @Kris The quotation you have given is from an English author, illustrating the meaning that the OP discusses, but the entry you have linked to is an entirely different 'baint' which isn't English. They bain't the same. – Spagirl Aug 20 '18 at 10:49
  • @Spagirl The above is, obviously, a comment, not an answer at all. The reference is provided purely to cite the source. – Kris Aug 21 '18 at 8:01
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    @Kris I know it is posted as a comment, but I don't understand why you've linked to an Irish word, meaning variously: *Verbal noun of bain, connection, relationship, relevance, medicine of tumour, cyst, etc. - removal, digging, removing, involvement (in, with something, somebody), harvesting (of potatoes, etc.), * etc and copied a quotation from the link which, when read, appears to result from a webscrape with no sense-checking, because although there is no apostrophe, the meaning is clearly that of 'bain't' as described in the question, which isn't the Irish word defined at the link. – Spagirl Aug 21 '18 at 10:32

But I've always thought that "ain't" is originally an Americanism.

Dictionary.com, quoting Harper's Etymology dictionary, doesn't think so:

1706, originally a contraction of am not, and in proper use with that sense until it began to be used as a generic contraction for are not, is not, etc., in early 19c. Cockney dialect of London; popularized by representations of this in Dickens, etc., which led to the word being banished from correct English.

Wikipedia has an interesting page on the contraction:

Ain't has been called "the most stigmatized word in the language",[24] as well as "the most powerful social marker" in English.[25] It is a prominent example in English of a shibboleth – a word used to determine inclusion in, or exclusion from, a group.[24]

Historically, this was not the case. For most of its history, ain't was acceptable across many social and regional contexts. Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, ain't and its predecessors were part of normal usage for both educated and uneducated English speakers, and was found in the correspondence and fiction of, among others, Jonathan Swift, Lord Byron, Henry Fielding, and George Eliot.[26]

You had already found a source (Wiktionary) which states that

"bain't" is the contracted form of "be not" and it is a British dialect.

Which leaves your question:

the question is "Aren't we full already?". In what part of Britain are we likely to hear "bain't"?

With the (wikipedia) information on ain't (is not) in mind, and the references like yourdictionary for bain't (be not) I would expect bain't to be of similar origin as ain't, and associate it with Cockney (London) English.

However, I am not sure that you are likely to hear it today - contrary to the widely-used ain't, bain't doesn't seem to be used a lot and even online references are sparse and not giving many details.

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    @Enguroo The OED has a lot of citations for bain't, stating that it’s a regional English thing that's chiefly southern and midlands in origin, but then they go and show examples from elsewhere, too. It has plenty of twentieth-century citations, including Kipling in 1904 and one from the Herald Express in 1998, and even a gloss on it from Maine. It can be both isn’t or aren’t. A 2001 citation from Belfast News Let. runs: “By eck, my lovelies, smatter my gronyels if it bain't toim for groat smeddling!” – tchrist Aug 20 '18 at 7:44
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    I think of 'bain't' as definitely archaic. I suspect that Belfast News quotation to be a parody of period 'country' or 'pirate' speech. – Kate Bunting Aug 20 '18 at 8:05

Very SW England + West Midlands. Though can be found all over southern England. Basically I be-ain't. Sometimes be-ant, or often bist be-est. So a greeting in Bristol would be How bist? Ah b'aint so bad. There be some classic dialect on here https://youtu.be/iPi5LkLhzr8.
I think the Belfast quote is from a popular BBC radio show from back in the day that lampoon's the rural stereo type of SW England called Rambling Syd Rumpo. Well worth a look if your into maximum innuendo poetry. https://youtu.be/hKdJZbRParA Dialects are flying out on England but this video shows there's plenty of pirate Shakespearean dialect still in use is southern rural communities, interesting to compare to Irish, Canadian maritime and American dialects. https://youtu.be/WjTIFkWJctY

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