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I am doing some informal research into dynamic speech and narrative generation, and I've been looking into some local colloquialism and having a little bit of difficultly classifying a set of them. I would call them "super-contractions" or "a contraction of contractions". But I'm curious if there is a better word/phrase that represents them.

For example:

I am going to tell him that!
I'm going to tell him that!
I'm gonna' tell him that!
I'm'a tell him that!
Ima tell him that!

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  • 'I'm' and 'gonna' are separate contractions, so no word is necessary to describe the uninteresting fact that one follows the other. Do you have good evidence for the use of the last two? Dec 21, 2011 at 16:00
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    @BarrieEngland Imma is definitely used in some southern dialects in the US, as well as in AAVE. Give this a listen, if you care to: youtube.com/watch?v=i2FR2HpUpz4
    – user13141
    Dec 21, 2011 at 16:04
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    I'd like to go with hypercontraction, which is used to describe muscle contractions.
    – user13141
    Dec 21, 2011 at 16:05
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    Related (not duplicate): english.stackexchange.com/q/50/11762
    – yoozer8
    Dec 21, 2011 at 18:59
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    I know a 5yo who says dwut? instead of do you know what?
    – Daniel
    Dec 21, 2011 at 19:43

3 Answers 3

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I was considering evolutionary or progressive or intensive contraction. However, these words have connotations of aiming for better, which does not seem to work in terms of contraction.

Then I would suggest degenerative contraction. I would also consider iterative or recursive contraction. These suggestions are far from being precise, but they might give you some inspiration.

Edit: Based on some wisdom from the comments, I would also call it over-contraction, since the contraction Ima or even I'm'a could make little sense to and confuse people.

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  • +1 for degenerative contraction. It was in my mind to suggest that by the time he reached the last two, OP's "contractions" were really just degenerate forms. What's with this recent flurry of questions (often from non-native speakers) wanting to know how far they can take written contractions? Do they think it makes them sound more "fluent"? Dec 22, 2011 at 0:02
  • I, at least for the time being, am going to go with over-contraction in the documentation. I think it aptly fits the concept I am looking for.
    – J. Holmes
    Dec 22, 2011 at 13:51
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I would use "double contraction" which sounds more clear

Suffix-Prefix Double Contractions: suffix-prefix double contractions are formed from two contractions where the suffix of one contraction is the prefix of the other:

she + would + have = she'd + would've = she'd've

Prefix-Prefix Double Contractions: prefix-prefix double contractions, are formed from two contractions that share a prefix:

they + will + have = they'll + they've = they'll've

Peculiar Cases: double contractions where one of the contractions isn't arrived at formulaically makes the double contraction peculiar:

he will not = he'll not = he'lln't
he will not = he won't = he'on't

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Since double contractions are regularly and frequently used even in educated speech, English grammar should have a place for them!

1
  • While I agree with the sentiment, -1 for not (clearly) answering the question.
    – DougM
    Jan 23, 2014 at 5:09

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