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In perhaps one of the funniest SNL's Black Jeopardy! sketches ever, the expression Fid’na was one of the six categories along with; Grown Ass, Aw Hell Naw, Girl Bye, I Ain’t Got It, and White People

They fid'na to take prayer out of school
Shanice: “What is they wonder why ever'body is pregnant?”

The second clue was

This is the reason your cable bill is in your grandmamma's name
T'Challa: “What is to honor her is the foundation of the family?”

(P.S. the sketch gets even funnier after this warm-up)

Note that the term fid'na is missing in the second clue, and it was missing in the contestant's question/answer, too.

In the first answer, it seems that fid'na could either mean “thinking of” or “shouldn't have” but the spelling makes no sense. There is barely anything that I could find online for fid'na or fidna. Just links to the SNL's comedy sketch and two references

We couldn't find a direct definition for the term fidna.
Definitions.net

and

about to, 'fixing to'
(September 06, 2003)
Urban Dictionary

The UD's definition makes some sense, although I am unaware that fixing to means to arrange to do something in the near future. I'm guessing this is American English.

Is the spelling of “fid'na” appropriate? See @Janus's comment below “… my immediate thought was that it looks like eye dialect for “They’re fitting to [sense 2] take prayer out of school”.

Can someone please confirm whether "fid'na" is an abbreviation of "fixing to" or not.
Is the spelling an abbreviation or eye dialect?
How did fixing (to) become fid(na)?

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  • Listening to it, it does sound like a faked AAVE "fixing to". But I'm no expert.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 8 '18 at 12:55
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    And it isn't really "fid'na". I'd say more of a "t" vs "d" sound, and very possibly derived from the old rural (black and white) "fitting ta".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 8 '18 at 12:58
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    I agree with @HotLicks here—without even clicking the link or reading beyond the initial citation, my immediate thought was that it looks like eye dialect for “They’re fitting to [sense 2] take prayer out of school”. Though I have to admit I don’t see how the second clue/answer fits with this category either, so it may have a second meaning that I’m unaware of. Apr 8 '18 at 13:05
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    Oh, I clicked the link now. T’Challa’s answer (which doesn’t include fid’na) is deemed wrong, whereas Shanice’s answer, which is deemed correct, does include fid’na. That makes more sense, then. (Also I just noted that the first clue is incorrectly written both in the sketch and the quote here. It has an extra ‘to’ that shouldn’t be there: it should just be “They fid’na take prayer out of school”, not “They fid’na to take prayer out of school”.) Apr 8 '18 at 13:11
  • @HotLicks au contraire. Not faked.
    – lbf
    Apr 8 '18 at 14:39
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fidna aka a-fixin' to African American Vernacular English

I fidna go to da stow

Translation: I am preparing to go the store. "Fittin' to" is commonly thought to be another form of the original "fixin' (fixing) to", and it is also heard as fitna, fidna, fixna, fin'to, and finsta UK essays

The immediate future marker finna. This feature is a contraction of «fixing to», which both blacks and whites use for the immediate future throughout the South: He finna go to work. This feature can be also reduced to the forms fidna and fitna

English, But Not Quite: Locating Linguistic Diversity
edited by Oriana Palusci

Finna is a contraction of "fixing to"; though is also believed to show residual influence of late 16th century archaism "would fain (to)", that persisted until later in some rural dialects spoken in the Carolinas (near the Gullah region aka the lowcountry - Charleston S.C.). "Fittin' to" is commonly thought to be another form of the original "fixin' (fixing) to", and it is also heard as fitna, fidna, fixna, fin'to, and finsta. wikipedia

7 min video on Gullah and the Lowcountry

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    Fixin’ to expresses the prospective aspect, that one is just about to do something. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospective_aspect
    – KarlG
    Apr 8 '18 at 15:22
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    Also pronounced “fiddin’ to” or “fixna” and can emphasize present preparation in addition to imminent action. The phrase is used by people of all races all over the U.S. South and becomes increasingly common as the area grows more rural.
    – Greg Bacon
    Apr 8 '18 at 16:55
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    @Greg Bacon ~ "preparation" is exactly right, which is why we also say "I'm fixing dinner, would you like to join us?" And yes, all Southern races say "I'm fixing to go to bed now, so be quiet, you hear me?" Etc... (In the appropriate accent, of course.)
    – Bread
    Apr 10 '18 at 0:26
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I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that the [d] in fid'na comes from the [s] in fixing to, the way that the [z] in isn't, wasn't or business can turn into [d] in some accents before the following [n] sound. Something like [ˈfɪksɪntə] > [ˈfɪksnə] > [ˈfɪsnə] > [ˈfɪznə] > [ˈfɪdnə].

If the intermediate pronunciations [ˈfɪsnə] and [ˈfɪznə] exist, that would support my guess.

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I agree with all the previous comments, but I feel I must make a point about attribution.

I have heard this expression from black people, admittedly, but most often the speaker is white from 'Appalachia', that is to say from the Scotch-Irish that settled the area stretching from ~Florida to ~southern New York state, with westernmost boundary of the Mississippi River, as well as the freed slaves after the Civil War, who I have read occasionally referred to as 'Afrolachian'.

My impression is more cultural/geographic than racial.

My interest in Bluegrass, its influences and origins, let to a bit of a deep-dive when I was a far more intense undergrad during the Previous Millenium. Hope this helps.

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