Informal Contractions, Part 1 (For Advanced Learners) - Podcast Episode 5

 
Audio Transcript:
Today’s lesson is for more advanced learners. If you find it challenging, remember to go to www.englishsessionswithmike.com for an audio transcript of this episode.

Hey y’all. Today we’re gonna talk about informal contractions. As y’all know, I live in the United States, and there is no shortage of informal English here, that’s for sure. I’m also gonna be recording a conversation with my Brazilian student Bruno soon to talk about informal contractions. It’ll be included in the bonus material that you can access by giving a monthly financial contribution to The English Sessions. Just to go patreon.com/theenglishsessions and give a small monthly contribution, to gain access to the bonus material.

Listen for these informal contractions today:
“Y’all” is ‘you all’
“Gonna” is “going to”
“Wanna” is “want to”
“Kinda” is “kind of”
“I’ma” is “I’m going to”
“Hafta” is “have to”

Okay, now, y’all is one of my favorite contractions. Why? Because it serves a valuable function in the English language. It is a way to address more than one person at the same time. In other words, it can be a second-person plural pronoun. In certain other languages, a pronoun exists to address more than one person at the same time, like Latin-American Spanish for example. “Ustedes” is kinda like saying “y’all” in English. For example, "Voy al cine. ¿Ustedes quieren venir?”. This can translate to, “I'ma go to the movie theater. Y'all wannna come with?”.

Now, I know what ya’ll are thinking. Mike, what are you talking about? The second person plural pronoun in English is ‘ye!’, as in this example from the Oxford Dictionary, "gather ye rosebuds, while ye may”. Well, if you look ’ye’ up in Oxford, you’ll also see that it’s labeled as ‘archaic’. What does that mean? That means that nobody talks like this anymore! If you start using ‘ye’ in spoken English, you might get some funny looks from people.

Have you heard other ways in English to address more than one person at the same time? English speakers have been pretty inventive over the years. Write in or leave a voice message with some of your favorites on the website.

And one more thing about “y’all”, don’t let any snobs out there tell you that it doesn’t belong in English. I think that’s crazy, and I promise I’ll be doing more podcasts about informal language, and how languages are always changing in future episodes. One of the smartest people I’ve ever known, one of my professors at the University of Rochester, would use “y’all” all the time while lecturing. But I love a good debate! Write into the podcast with your thoughts and we’ll discuss them.

Some of the other ones I wanna discuss today are more common and straightforward. Gonna, going to. I’m gonna go to the store, do ya need anything? Ah, this is a good workout ! I’m gonna be sore tomorrow! Wanna, want to. I wanna go to the movie theater but there’s a global pandemic goin’ on and I haf’ta stay home”.

Notice the structure difference between the two, “going to” and “want to”. Since one is just in the simple present, “want to”, remember that the verb changes with singular, third person pronouns or singular nouns. She wants. He wants. It wants. Billy Bob wants. Peggy Sue wants. That’s why it is unlikely for you to hear: “She wanna eat pizza”. You can easily say “I wanna eat pizza, they wanna eat pizza, you wanna eat pizza, we wanna eat pizza”, but remember that it is correct to say, “She wants to eat pizza, he wants to eat pizza, Billy Bob wants to eat pizza, Peggy Sue wants to eat pizza”. So, unless we create a new informal contraction, it sounds a bit awkward to say, “She wanna eat pizza”.

Does that mean that, “she wanna eat pizza” has never been spoken in English? Absolutely not, and native English speakers love to have fun with the language. Go to the English Sessions website for a YouTube video of the great Queen Latifah singing a song called “If He Wanna”.



A learner must take into consideration many factors when trying out some of this informal language, or very informal language, like ‘she wanna’. What level of learning on you on? Are you still intermediate? Are you advanced, but not quite fluent and still have some issues with sentence structure? A listener might be thrown off a bit if you go straight from intermediate English to using very informal contractions. It would be unexpected, and you might not pull it off as well as you might think you can. How you say it, meaning your cadence or intonation, and cultural background are just a couple of those factors to consider.

This is not a complete list of informal contractions today. I’m just going over some of the most common that I hear. What other ones did we say at the beginning? Oh yeah. Kinda. Kind of. “I kinda wanna go to the concert, but it’s just so expensive! “Hafta”. Have to. “I hafta go the meeting. It’s super important”. Kinda. hafta. Kinda is kind of. Hafta is have to. I have to go, I hafta go. How do your informal contractions sound? Send me a voice message of some of your sentences with informal contractions.

And finally, about “I’ma”. “I’ma” is “I’m going to”. “I’ma go clean my kitchen floors now”. I am going to go clean my kitchen floors now. “I’ma go clean my floors now”. Try it out. Repeat after me. “I’ma go clean my kitchen floors now”. This one is very informal, and again, maybe not one you’d want to try out at first when learning informal contractions for the first time. There’s a time and a place for contractions like “I’ma” and again, you may just confuse your listener who knows you’re still learning English. To watch Kanye West brilliantly use this informal contraction though, go to the website. www.englishsessionswithmike.com


Above all, remember the big three today: gonna; wanna; hafta. That’s because these are used ALL the time in English, not just by Americans, and can even be used all in one sentence!! For example, let’s say I want my friend to go to a concert, but I don’t want to force him to go. I want him to choose to go, knowing that he will have a great time. I might say, “He’s gonna hafta wanna go, I’m not gonna force him.”. Did you hear that? He’s gonna hafta wanna go! He is going to have to want to go. Yikes! Let’s try that again, repeat after me: “He’s gonna hafta wanna go, I’m gonna force him to go” “He’s gonna hafta wanna go. He’s gonna hafta wanna go.”.

Phew! We made it. That’s all for today, but I assure you there will be more talk about informal contractions and other informal language in future episodes.

My Brazilian student Bruno and I talk about this in our English Session this week. If you’re interested in hearing our conversation, go to patreon.com/theenglishsessions and make a small monthly contribution to the podcast. Once you’re a contributor, you can access the bonus content of The English Sessions, including the conversation Bruno and I have about information contractions.

Any questions? Write to me at mike@englishsessionswithmike.com . Leave a message for me on the website, www.englishsessionswithmike.com and I will play it on the podcast. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast so you won’t miss an episode. Visit www.englishsessionswithmike.com for more content. Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time, this is Mike signing off.   

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:If_You_Litter_Shame_On_Y%27all_(45232178962).jpg

Comments

  1. That's nice! I have never seen this archaic pronoun, ye. Thanks for the content

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