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Whither went wont?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:00 am
by sluggo
I must've known this at some point but-
where do we get the letter O in the contraction won't?
If it's from the O of not, then shall it not might could have been spelt w'not or sum'pm?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:10 pm
by Perry
The apostrophe is used in writing contractions ‹ that is, shortened forms of words from which one or more letters have been omitted. In standard English, this generally happens only with a small number of conventional items, mostly involving verbs. Here are some of the commonest examples, with their uncontracted equivalents:

it's
it is or it has
we'll
we will or we shall
they've
they have
can't
can not
he'd
he would or he had
aren't
are not
she'd've
she would have
won't
will not
Note in each case that the apostrophe appears precisely in the position of the omitted letters: we write can't, not *ca'nt, and aren't, not *are'nt. Note also that the irregular contraction won't takes its apostrophe between the n and the t, just like all other contractions involving not. And note also that she'd've has two apostrophes, because material has been omitted from two positions.
That is all I could find; an explanation of the apostrophe. I could not find where the "o" came from.

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:16 pm
by gailr
sluggo, willn't this help?

won't
contraction of will not, first recorded mid-15c. as wynnot, later wonnot (1584) before the modern form emerged 1667. See will.
-gailr
ps: I think FDR had something to say about freedom from wont...

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:18 pm
by Perry
Sluggo, according to what Gail has unearthed, your question should have been, "where did the i come from?"
will (v.)
O.E. *willan, wyllan "to wish, desire, want" (past tense wolde), from P.Gmc. *welljan (cf. O.S. willian, O.N. vilja, O.Fris. willa, Du. willen, O.H.G. wellan, Ger. wollen, Goth. wiljan "to will, wish, desire," Goth. waljan "to choose"), from PIE *wel-/*wol- "be pleasing" (cf. Skt. vrnoti "chooses, prefers," varyah "to be chosen, eligible, excellent," varanam "choosing;" Avestan verenav- "to wish, will, choose;" Gk. elpis "hope;" L. volo, velle "to wish, will, desire;" O.C.S. voljo, voliti "to will," veljo, veleti "to command;" Lith. velyti "to wish, favor," pa-vel-mi "I will," viliuos "I hope;" Welsh gwell "better"). Cf. also O.E. wel "well," lit. "according to one's wish;" wela "well-being, riches." The use as a future auxiliary was already developing in O.E. The implication of intention or volition distinguishes it from shall, which expresses or implies obligation or necessity. Contracted forms, especially after pronouns, began to appear 16c., as in sheele for "she will." The form with an apostrophe is from 17c.
will (n.)
O.E. will, willa, from P.Gmc. *weljon (cf. O.S. willio, O.N. vili, O.Fris. willa, Du. wil, O.H.G. willio, Ger. wille, Goth. wilja "will"), related to *willan "to wish" (see will (v.)). The meaning "written document expressing a person's wishes about disposition of property after death" is first recorded c.1380.

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:30 pm
by sluggo
Perry wrote: "where did the i come from?"
You should really ask you parents that one, Per.
Though one would think you'd know by now...

Won't as derivative of wollen maketh sense to me. Vielen dank, Gailr.
(please say hey to the Minnesota Vikings, eh)

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:34 pm
by sluggo
Perry wrote: ... And note also that she'd've has two apostrophes, because material has been omitted from two positions.
I wuz thinking today that conspicuous in its absence from the above list is the you plural-possessive, if regional y'all's (and a pox on you too, o spellchucker).

And there remains an unfortunate sign that I pass regularly driving between my old and new abodes reading ya'll come (on both sides!)

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:09 am
by gailr
sluggo wrote:(please say hey to the Minnesota Vikings, eh)
Mmmmmmmmmno.
:D
Thanks, sluggo: I borrowed the Vikingesque helmet in response to another thread, and then colored it purple & gold for giggles. I had begun to think I'd be in it forever if no one got the joke. And you're not even from Wiscaaaaaahhhnsin!

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:08 am
by Perry
sluggo wrote:
Perry wrote: "where did the i come from?"
You should really ask you parents that one, Per.
Though one would think you'd know by now...

Won't as derivative of wollen maketh sense to me. Vielen dank, Gailr.
(please say hey to the Minnesota Vikings, eh)
I have three kids of my own, and in fact do know where one comes from. BTW, in keeping with this thread, it even involves contractions.

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:56 pm
by gailr
Perry wrote:I have three kids of my own, and in fact do know where one comes from. BTW, in keeping with this thread, it even involves contractions.
Well said, Perry!

According to friends who have replicated, the most common ... contractions ... they remember using from your list above are:
it's ... !
can't!
aren't!
won't!


and, in reference to their sorry partners,
he's ... !
you're ... !


-gailr :wink:
Who concedes that contractions have a place, and it is far, far, far away...

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:32 pm
by sluggo
Don't don't make da list??
Perry wrote:... in keeping with this thread, it even involves contractions.
I just now got it :lol: :lol:
Sehr gut, Per.