Does English support three-word contractions?
In English certain pairs words can be contracted with an apostrophe, such as "I've" (I have). I don't know if there are strong rules for which words can be combined in this way and which can't. In all the examples I can think of, each contributing word is only one syllable.
Does any version of English formally recognize combining three words like this as being normative, as opposed to considering it incorrect or slang (as one might find on Twitter or Usenet)? I imagine it'd depend on which words, just as combining two words seems to. I just found myself writing "I'd've" (I would have), and I wouldn't've thought much of it, but a non-native speaker asked me about this construction and I don't know whether it's personal quirk, a marker of a certain type of population, or normative.
Arnold Zwicky and Geoff Pullum's paper "Cliticization vs. inflection: English n't", published in the September 1983 issue of Language (volume 59, number 3), indicates that I'd've exists. While I'm not completely sure what sort of normativity you seek, I think this might satisfy you.
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- it is not -> 'tisn't
1739 D. Bellamy Innocence Betray'd ii. iii. 112 'Tisn't a Virtue, Lucia, but a Vice, To be so very coy! so very nice.
slightly archaic, but 'taren't we all?
and begging the question
it ^ not -> it ain't -> 'tain't. (first known use 1773)
^ = am|are|is|has|have
Version as collected by Howard Odum (publ. 1911 in Journal of American Folklore)
- Baby, you ought-a tole me,
- Six months before you roll me,
- I'd had some other place to go,
- 'Tain't nobody's bizness but my own
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