What is “won't” a contraction of?
The Why is "cannot" spelled as one word? post brought back another oddity I noticed when learning English. The contraction won't seems to break a common pattern in similar contractions:
- cannot => can't
- do not => don't
- should not => shouldn't
- would not => wouldn't
In these examples, the o sound in not is dropped and the letter o (no in the case of cannot) is replaced with an apostrophe.
However, will not => won't drops ill from will and replaces it with the o from not. This contraction is probably derived from shifts in speech rather than writing. How did the contraction won't emerge?