Why Do You "Wanna"? In one of the other forums just now, I saw someone use "wanna" as a contraction for "want to", and it reminded me that I've been wondering about just how this usage comes about in written English, on the Net particularly. I grew up in the midwestern USA and have lived in the southeastern USA for the past twenty years, with a brief interlude in upstate New York. For me, "wanna" is common enough in casual spoken English that I don't notice it. I use it myself in normal casual speech. Nevertheless, until a couple of years ago, I don't think I had ever noticed anyone use "wanna" in written English, except as a conscious literary device, imitating casual or dialect speech in a novel or short story, or when quoting someone in a newspaper or magazine article. Then, sometime during the past few years, I noticed some people using "wanna" when asking questions in programming-related Usenet newsgroups. For example, in comp.lang.c++, someone might ask, "I wanna know how how to..." Since then, I've noticed it regularly in other technical newsgroups and forums, including these forums. However, I haven't noticed it in the more "social" and hobby-oriented newsgroups and forums that I visit. As it happens, most of these (the ones that I visit, at least) are populated with native English speakers, I think. Also, I think most of the participants are in their late 20's or older. As another data point, I've never seen any of my (college) students use "wanna" in writing, even in casual e-mail to me. Of course, they may consciously avoid that sort of thing with professors even if they use it among themselves. And kids in my part of the USA tend to be slightly behind some other parts of the country with respect to the latest trends in general. And we have very few foreign students at my college. So... is this "wanna" thing coming from non-native English speakers who have picked up on it in speech and carried it over into their writing? Or is it a new trend among native speakers that just hasn't washed over my part of the USA yet? If so, is it a USA-specific thing, or does it come from some other part of the English-speaking world? I thought it might be an IM-related thing, along with other abbreviations like "u" and "r", but somehow that doesn't seem plausible. "Wanna" seens to be almost as much work to type as "want to", and takes up almost as much space. I thought this might be a good place to ask because I know we have people from all over the world here, both native and non-native English speakers.