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(or maybe he only quoted it:)
} I have a question: Since this topic has been debated } so much over the years, how come it aren't in the FAQ?

As the Faqmeister General once said, we writes it up and we submits it.

R. J. Valentine
Robert Bannister typed thus:

Does that come from another language? I wasn't aware of ... expect "isn't/doesn't/won't it?" and which I suspect comes from Singapore.

I suspect that it's an imported translation. French and Welshpeople often say "isn't it", in place of any confirmation question ... an East Asian language which has the same characteristic. I expect we've discussed this before but I don't recall it.

Certainly the tag "Isn't it?" was a common feature of Indian English long before "Innit?" became a regular Briticism. Probing to discover whether this was a translation or a home-grown Indo-Anglicism would be quite easy, and of absorbing interest, ain't it?

Agreed on French; but the Welsh version subject to more expert correction isn't quite a direct translation from Welsh. What I've heard in Welsh is "ife?" (eevé), which seems to fall between several stools I never quite got the hang of, or "ie", which seems sometimes to be a contraction of "ife" and sometimes just an unofficial word for "yes" (which theoretically Welsh hasn't got). More formal Welsh tag-questions seem to correspond grammatically to what has gone before just as English ones do. (My shockingly bad Welsh was once, to my huge gratification, condemned by a colleague on the grounds not that it was the crap I knew it to be, but that it was too posh.)

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And why did you leave "amn't I?" out of your ... no more awkward than "didn't" or "haven't". (('[email protected]), ('[email protected]), ('[email protected]).)

"Amn't" crossed my mind when I was writing my post, but only as a spelling variant of "am't." It never occurred to me that someone might pronounce it as two syllables.

"Amn't", with two distinct syllables, is alive and well in everyday use in Scotland. It might even be true to say that using the grammatically distasteful "aren't I" suggests to the native that the user might be an English immigrant.

Chris Malcolm (Email Removed) +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205 IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK (http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/)
Chris Malcolm typed thus:

As with "needs", this depends what you mean by "simple". ... self-evident principle that a house only contains what is needed.

Is "housekeeper" a Scottish word for "cleaner", or do you live in a large mansion with a variety of staff (and no car).

Well, it is a large house. Depending on how you classify them there are at least five candidate bedrooms. I don't think part-time live-in assistance counts as a "variety of staff".
To my English ears, a housekeeper's duties include the management of the household staff; I can't remember hearing it used of a lone employed person.

A housekeeper's duties only include management of household staff if there are staff to manage. I'm sure this isn't simply a Scotticism, because I can think of many old English authors who are described as having lived their later years in the company of an employed housekeeper. with no other domestic staff.
The housekeeper also does not have to be employed in the financial sense. Sometimes the housekeeper is a sister or daughter.

A housekeeper is simply the person who manages the domestic arrangements, with or without staff, with or without remuneration or contract, with or without actually living there, with or without being married to the person she keeps house for. It's simply a description of the relationship to the running of the household in question.
Similarly, when I say that we have two cooks in our household, I don't mean that I employ two cooks.

Chris Malcolm (Email Removed) +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205 IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK (http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/)