What is the word won't a contraction of?
Respect to all, I am not a retard.
I KNOW what it means.
Where did the 'O' come in?
Jack, believe it or not, it is a contraction of "woll" not. "Woll" was an ancient spelling of "will". Go here.
Post Edited (09-25-04 21:56)
Thanks for the info and the resource.
Did - didn't
Is - isn't
Has - hasn't
Woll - won't?
Okay, if you say so.
Now answer me this.
The plural of woman is women.
If the a changes to an e, why does the pronunciation change in the FIRST syllable, where the spelling does not?
As with all things female, the answer is "It's a mystery."
Jack, as to woman and women, I like your answer. But vowels in English often do funny things. Why for instance does the "o" in do, change sounds when the word becomes does, or don't?
As far as I know there's only one person here who will take the term personally. I'm not going to worry about offending that one.
I have spoken of a co-worker who is a master butcher of the english language. It's even funnier when you understand he has no clue he's doing it. A couple of recent additions:
Them monkeys was swingin' by their reprehensible tails.
Where there's a will there's a won't.
When I told him I had taken a French Silk pie to the Red Cross ladies I work with, he chimed in with:
'The way to a woman's stomach is through her... uh... well... they like pie'.
At this point I want to take any joke I can. As is my wont.
In old Anglish there were noun declensions, like in Latin, German and Ruussian. As French and other languages invaded Angland, which was new, more and more of the declensions went into decline, being erased or blurrrrrered by history. The s we use to form most modern Anguish plurals was borrowed by the Middle English of Chaucer's type, and just about routed the old Germanic endings, ending them, except in words like woman and moose, which were the rule, but are now the exception to the rule: Or, as the New Englanders would say, s rules. Even when women rule. I thinks. (But that's an s of another story)
Probably came about from the German wollen - will
That's just a guess mind you.
Surround sound. The phonetic environment is one possible answer. o's tend to the company they keep.
I'll go for that, Is it take out? the jokes, that is, not the pizza.
I love your pieman.
I don't mind getting offended if someone means to offend me.
Peter :-) :-0 :-> three in a row
Alao, the great German vowel shift (in English) might in part account for it among its dozens and dozens of changes.
I think it unfair to chastise the original answer to your question. After all, you did ask what the word is a "contraction of," not what its origins are.
It was meant to be an eye-rolling 'Aw shucks' rather than chastisement. It doesn't read that way, but that's how it sounded on my end. I just happened to write the word, and it looked unusual. So I got to pondering where that O came from.
Dearest creature in creation,
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse,
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse-
It will keep you, Susy, busy;
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye your dress you'll tear-
So shall I. Oh hear my prayer.
Pray console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it.
Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written)/.
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say - said, pay - paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
with such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.
Previous, precious; fuchsia, via;
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir;
Cloven, oven; how and low;
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe,
Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore;
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles;
Exiles, similes, reviles;
Wholly, holly, signal, signing;
Thames, examining, combining.
Scholar, vicar and cigar;
Solar, mica, war and far;
From desire-desirable; admirable from admire;
Lumber, plumber; bier but brier;
Chatham, brougham; renown but known;
Knowledge, done but gone and tone;
One, anemone, Balmoral;
Kitchen, lichen; laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German; wind and mind;
Scene, Melpomene; mankind;
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois - leather;
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch,
ninth and plinth.
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
nor is mould like would and should.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rhyme with "darky",
Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's "O.K."
When you say correctly croquet;
Rounded, wounded; grieve and sieve;
friend and fiend; alive and live;
Liberty, library, heave and heaven;
Rachel, ache, moustache; eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed;
People, leopard; towed but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise;
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable;
Principle, disciple, label;
Petal, penal and canal;
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.
Suit, suite, ruin; circuit, conduit
Rhyme with "shirk it" and "beyond it",
But it is not hard to tell,
Why it's pall-mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular; gaol; iron;
Timber, climber; bullion, lion;
Worm and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Ivy, privy; famous; clamour
and enamour rhyme with hammer.
Pussy, hussy and possess,
desert, but dessert, address.
Golf, wolf; countenance; lieutenants
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
River, rival; tomb, bomb, comb;
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
neither does devour with clangour.
Soul but foul, and gaunt, but aunt;
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger,
And then: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal; mauve, gauze and gauge;
marriage, foliage, mirage and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, job, blossom, bosom, oath.
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.
Seat , sweat; chaste, caste; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite but unite.
Reefer does not rhyme with "deafer".
Feoffor does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull; Geoffrey, George; ate, late;
Hint, pint; senate, but sedate;
Scenic, Arabic, pacific.
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, and succour, four;
Gas, alas and Arcansas.
Sea, idea, guinea, area.
Psalm; but malaria,
Youth, south, southern; cleanse, but clean;
Doctrine, turpentine, marine,
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Sally with ally, yea, ye
Eye, I, oy, aye. Whey, key, quay.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver,
Never guess - it's not safe.
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.
Heron, granary, canary;
Crevice and device and eyrie;
Face but preface, but efface;
Phlegm, phlegmatic; ass, glass bass;
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, but scourging,
War, earn; and wear and tear
do not rhyme with "here" and "there" but "ere".
Seven is right, but so is even;
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen;
Monkey, donkey; clerk and jerk;
Asp, grasp, wasp; and cork and work.
Pronunciation- think of Psyche -
Is a paling, stout and spiky,
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing "groats" and saying "grits".
It's a dark abyss, or tunnel,
strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Don't you think so, reader, rather
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally: which rhymes with "enough"
Though, through, plough, cough, hough,
Hiccough has the sound of "cup".
My advice is-give it up!!!
Good one Hugh, I think that about sums up the logic of our language.
Latest theory seems to be that we lost the declensions in a form of pigin. Latest genetics and archeology seem to show that the germanic addition to celtic England (exclude Wales and highland Scotland) wasn't as great as previously believed, but was more of a cultural change. A germanic vocabulary was grafted onto a celtic structure and the declensions weren't transfered.
I find that very interesting. I'll look into it. Thanks,
I suppose its a bit like English usage in modern India.
I like that poem (laughed at "chamois - leather").
I like the suggestion that WON'T is a contraction of the German "woll nicht."
I despair of English.
What is the word won't a contraction of?
How does one justify the use of, "aren't" in the sentence, "I am using good English grammar, aren't I?" Surely it should be "amn't I"!
"Grammar is somewhat like a freshly caught fish. Take it in your hand to wash it in the stream; two wiggles, and it is gone."
Charlton Laird, "The Miracle of Language."
I suspect, also, the woggly fish gives us the so-called anomalous verbs (be, go, go etc) "which are full verbs whose principal parts are so irregular that theydo not easily lend themselves to classification," according to my old "Descriptive Grammar" (1950), which tells us there are strong, weak, defective, anomalous, and irregular verbs in Modern English of Old English origins. Your example, "Aren't I", may be a result of pronoun flatening, but I haven't found an instance of it in my reference works yet.
I'll keep at it.
In "Linguistics and English Gammar," Gleason says Be in Morphologically and syntactically "very abberrant." Harsh words, these. He even points out that one of the more stanard grammars, Roberts' "Sentences" says Be isn't even a verb -- a rematably extreme standard view.
Hugh, if i stretched it out, saying I am speaking goodly English, am not I , or Are not I, it sounds all bad
Am I not? These contraptions are getting closer
Peter, Be is too often an inactive verb for most people , Ain't it?
Only if they wert inactive people, what?
they do plenty of doing and not much being
Oddly, "ain't" seems to have oringinated from "am I not", but that contraction has been deemed unacceptable while "aren't" survived as correct. Weird language, English.
My current favorite (it will probably make the O.E.D. soon) is "ite".
Pronounced Ahh-ite, but quickly so it's one syllable, usually followed by an almost question mark.
It means 'Alright' or 'All right'.
Switchblade. Billy Bob - aite, then, umhmm.
Whups! Sling Blade, not switchblade, tsk.
"What are you doing with that lawnmower blade, Karl?"
"I'm aiming to kill you with it, umhmm."
It's hard to aim a lawnmower, I reckon.
Actually in Australia ite is the number that falls between 'sivin' and 'noyn'.