|The only problem with continuing to use "aren't" is that it's used inconsistently in the case of the first person singular. If you can say, "Aren't I good?" or "Are I not good," then you should be able to say, "I aren't good," or "I are not good," which, of course, you can't. I'm not demanding that children be taught grammar that is unacceptable to the educational establishment, but I think that educators themselves should consider changing the rules. If we can demand an end to so-called "sexist" language, such that writers feel obliged to use "she" instead of "he" as the indefinite pronoun (a change which is ridiculous on its face), then we can certainly move to change "aren't" to "ain't," where appropriate. |
Of course, any correction would recognize the ungrammatical uses of "ain't" as well. Whereas it's grammatically correct to say, "I ain't going to school," it's incorrect to say, "He ain't going to school." "Aren't" or "are not" is clearly a plural form of the verb "to be." That it should have wormed its way into the singular is a disgrace that should be corrected. And it's high time that the educational establishment took the initiative. If they can spearhead the movement for non-sexist language, when traditional usage is already legitimate (it is understood that within the relevant context, "he" and "him" take the indefinite form; there is no intent to exclude women from personhood), they can certainly correct illegitimate uses of the verb "to be."
Perhaps, the capital letter "E" could be introduced as the gender neutral, first person singular. But then you'd have to find a substitute for "him/her." Right now, the plural pronouns "they" and "them" have been adopted in violation of good grammar as gender neutral singular pronouns, when they are clearly plural pronouns. Rebellion against so-called "sexist" language trumps all, even good English.