Informal abbreviations in English


Anyone who is even slightly interested in the English language has probably noticed such words as gonna, wanna, gotta , etc. in the songs. They seem to be similar to "normal" going to, want to, got to... In fact, they are not only similar, but completely identical.

The fact is that the forms gonna, wanna, gotta are examples of the so-called “relaxed pronunciation”, which is characteristic of colloquial, informal speech. The essence of this type of pronunciation is that the final letters of words merge in the speech stream, forming one word out of 2-3, and are pronounced in one breath. This principle can be called the “accordion principle”, when a long phrase is compressed into one with the loss of some letters and without loss of meaning.

In this article, we want to decipher (give meaning and translation) the most common cases of such pronunciation of colloquial abbreviations.

Relaxed pronunciation or how to pronounce words in a colloquial way

wassup = what's up [ wəˈsʌp ]

Simpsons fans will probably know this line by heart when Milhouse stuck out his tongue and yelled “Wasuuuup!” Bart at the meeting. But seriously, “What's up” is a form of greeting among young people.

dunno = don't know [ dəˈnoʊ ]

In Good Will Hunting , Will says, "I dunno what you're doing" - "I don't know what you're doing."

doncha = don't you [ ˈdoʊntʃə ]

In general, anything that ends in “you” is converted to “cha” or alternatively “ja”. Remember the once-popular line “Doncha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”

cuhmeer = come here

lemme = let me [ ˈlɛmi ]

On Twitter, we found this post: “Cuhmeer lemme scratch that big black back.” Guess what it means)

gimme = give me [ ˈgɪmi ]

ABBA has a whole song dedicated to this word. Remember the famous line “Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight”?

gonna = going to ['gɔnə]

Actually, gonna is an abbreviation for going to, i.e. intention to do something

wanna = want to ['wɒnǝ]

Similarly to the previous one, wanna stands for want to and translates as the desire for something, I want

whaddaya = what do you [ ˈwʌtʃə ]

With this phrase begins the popular song by Adam Lambert "Whaddaya want from me?". In the “correct” version, it sounds like “What do you want from me?”

whatcha = what have you

The Bad Boys soundtrack contains the line "Bad boys Watcha gonna do" - "Bad boys, what are you going to do." By the way, gonna is also an example of a relaxed pronunciation. Its original version is going to.

According to the principle of gonna, gotta=got to, wanna=want to are formed.

wassat = what is that [ ˌwʌˈsæt ]

Whassat you say? - What you said? (What is that you say?)

kinda = kind of [ ˈkaɪndə ]

This expression has become a kind of parasite, because it is inserted literally through every word. It means "sort of". Its use can be checked on the example of one of our videos from the Sex and the City series .

lotsa = lots of [ ˈlɑtsə ]

In the 70s there was even a series called “Lotsa Luck” - “A lot of luck”. So, strictly speaking, this expression is not so slang - it is really more convenient to pronounce than lots of.

In general, the key to mastering relaxed pronunciation lies in quickly pronouncing "normal" phrases and swallowing the final letters. Try to test yourself: quickly pronounce the expressions to the right of the = sign, and you will be sure that you have pronounced the same thing that is written to the left of it.