In the past few months, I’ve read an awful lot of what used to be called the print media but is now called FAKE NEWS by the only media that apparently matters any more (Fox and Trump), and I’m more than a little upset by the increasing use of FAKE WORDS like “wanna,” “gonna,” and “kinda.” I think I must’ve read hundreds of articles by this time that put those words into people’s mouths when quoting them, and it still derails me to this day.
I know this is going to sound to you the way my teachers sounded to me when they grumped about how “ain’t” isn’t a “real word.” I think mostly they didn’t want us to say “ain’t” because we were young and they were old, and uselessly carping about the how young whipper-snappers are murdering the language is one of the mileposts on the road to becoming a crotchety old coot that you have to drive past on the way to senility.
So I’m going to do it. See what I did there? Not I’m “gonna” do it. I’m going to do it. Because when I write down what I want to say, I don’t try to spell the sounds that come out of my mouth. If I did, you’d probably bust an aneurysm trying to catch on to what I was saying. Or, to put it another way: You’d prolly busta anyarizum tryna kech awnta watta wuz sayen. I learned to spell so you wouldn’t have to risk a seizure trying to figure out what the hell I was trying to say.
Maybe it seems more authentic to write “wanna” because that’s what the speakers said, but it’s more than likely they also said “prolly,” “hafta,” and “dunno.” I have yet to see the print media use those “words” regularly. If what writers are trying for is authenticity, they’re missing by miles.
Again, this is just me taking another step toward becoming a codger on the porch, waving my cane at those darn kids on my lawn. Words morph over time, so it’s inevitable that “wanna” will become a REAL WORD. I’m still not sure whether or not “ain’t” should be a word. I’m inclined to accept it, having heard it all my life. Maybe that’s how it is with the generation writing the news today.