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In St. Louis, I learned of the word, "finna." I know it is slang/contraction for "fixing to." By asking dozens of people, I've learned that it is used by people of many different races and cultural backgrounds. I've also learned that many who use this word have been using it all their lives (for some, that means at least 50 years).

What I want to know is:

  1. When did "finna" first start being used?

  2. Where did it originally came from?

  3. How far geographically has the usage of this word spread from its original location?

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Just to add some boundaries to the extent of the usage: I've lived in St. Louis most of my life ('50s, '60s, '90s, '00s), and I've never heard this that I can think of. I'm white, middle-class, grew up in the inner-ring suburb of University City, have lived last 20 years in the ethnically mixed Central West End. –  Steve Harris Jun 6 '11 at 7:17
    
@Steve Harris: That is good to know. Many of my city teacher friends, also white and middle-class, say it, but those who just moved to the area in the last few years say it because they picked it up from their students and colleagues. Perhaps there is a socio-economic boundary? –  Eri Jun 6 '11 at 20:08

4 Answers 4

Here are some details of the word "finna" (it is a contraction of fixing to):

Taken from a website:

"Fixin' to" is Southern English, also used by Black folks who have moved to other parts of the country. It certainly did not have its origin in the relatively recent movement to have the vernacular Black English dialect be the language of instruction for Black students who speak it.

Wikipedia seems to back this up, listing it as one of the ebonical peculiarities.

The Online Slang Dictionary states:

this is a phonetic spelling of one common pronunciation of the southern United States colloquialism

It started round about 1917, and was due to the pronunciation techniques of the American-Africans in the South. Since then, due to increasing travel opportunities, it has spread to the North and Midwest as well.

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Is there something wrong with this answer, if so, can someone please tell me how to improve it? –  Thursagen Jun 6 '11 at 5:22
    
I think the answer is good (I voted for it) because it addresses the historic and geographic aspects of the question, and provides helpful information about the word in question. I'm also curious about the reason for it being voted down. –  Randolf Richardson Jun 6 '11 at 7:10
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& Bacon: The obvious thing missing from the answer is that it doesn't explicitly mention the word "finna", the contraction of the word "fixing to" that the question is asking about. It's in the links you gave, but if you're reading quickly, you might miss that. I also want to say that "gonna" can be contracted from "going to", and "tryna" from "trying to," so I don't see why "finna" can't be contracted from "fixing to". –  Peter Shor Jun 6 '11 at 10:51
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And here's a discussion of finna on LanguageLog. –  Peter Shor Jun 6 '11 at 11:20
    
I agree with @Peter Shor in that while "fixin' to" is the origin of "finna," your answer explains "fixin' to" rather than the history and geography of the particular slang "finna." –  Eri Jun 6 '11 at 20:04

This is more of a side note, but when I first saw someone use the word 'finna', I though they had made a typo and meant to write 'gonna'!

F is next to G on the Qwerty keyboard.
I is next to O on the Qwerty keyboard.
N            N
N            N
A            A
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interesting observation –  yasmin-chanel Jun 30 at 21:31

“fixin'” is actually from Appalachian English vocabulary. Extensive research has been conducted since the 1930s to determine the origin of the Appalachian dialect. One theory is that the dialect is a remnant of Elizabethan English. Some of the uses are: ● a serving or helping of food. Can I get a fixin' of dumplings? ● an event, party or social function where food is served. They're having a fixin' at church next Friday ● about to, They're fixin' to get hitched.

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I can't decide whether this answer implies that this usage of fixing is Elizabethan English. I'm absolutely sure it's not. –  Peter Shor Mar 1 at 23:20
    
And are you absolutely sure about sense 2: "havin' a fixin' at church next Friday"? The only place I can find this sense of fixin' used anywhere on the web is in websites explaining what fixin' means in Appalachian English, which all seem copied from the same source (and presumably are where you got this answer). –  Peter Shor Mar 1 at 23:29

I’m from Louisville, Kentucky, and I’ve only heard people in more urban communities use it. I’ve always wondered how the word or saying finna came about. Your explanation makes sense to me!

People also say frinna down here as well.

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