Article published in:New Approaches to English Linguistics: Building bridges
Edited by Olga Timofeeva, Anne-Christine Gardner, Alpo Honkapohja and Sarah Chevalier
[Studies in Language Companion Series 177] 2016
► pp. 67–116
The substitutability and diffusion of want to and wanna in world Englishes
Occurrences of want to and wanna in the extensive database GloWbE have widespread, though disparate, frequencies in varieties of English. This diffusion of want to as consistently greater in frequency than wanna throughout twenty varieties, however, awaits further sampling and analysis. As for substitutability, want to and wanna recur in nearly all environments. Two deterrents to such substitutability, one semantic, the other structural, are due to institutional and spoken practices. In institutional settings, want to in the sense ‘obligation’ prevails exclusively. In speech want to again prevails over wanna (but not exclusively) in clause final position. One emergent practice finds wanna, uninflected and unrelated to the infinitive marker to, colligated with nouns and noun phrases. This practice is indicative of unforeseen patterns, related to wanna and want to, likely to arise in colloquial English.
Keywords: phonological features, verb phrases, clausal patterns, functional shift, semantic dimensions, pragmatics
Published online: 01 November 2016
2013 Corpus of Global Web-based English. 1.9 Billion Words from Speakers in 20 Countries. http://corpus.2.byu.edu/glowbe (November 2014 – December 2015).
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