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Tea Room?[edit]

This page has an RFT, but I can't see any discussion or information about why it was ever added. What happened? Sabretoof 09:06, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Copied from Tea Room Archives Dec 2009[edit]

This term is a non-constituent, that is, its components "haf" and "ta" would be analyzed as parts of different constituents of a sentence. This kind of term is variously presented in en.wikt as "contraction", "eye dialect", or as being the part of speech of the "stronger" component, in this case, "verb". Do we want to be consistent? Some of the entries in en.wikt that are non-constituents are to be found at Category:English non-constituents.

In the case of this particular entry we present it as a verb with an infinitive "to hafta". I am reasonably sure that does not exist. What might exist would be something like "I'm gonna hafta kill 'im." To me the effort to develop some parallel grammar for a written representation of this kind of pronunciation is a really fun bit of self-indulgence but not a great thing for principal namespace. DCDuring TALK 03:56, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Under have to it's listed as an "alternative form." That hasta be right, don't it? It makes a kind of sense then to treat "hafta" as a phrase, or whatever it is that "have to" actually is. (It looks to me like a defective modal adverb - manner only.) Pingku 10:22, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
What irks me about non-constituents is that they are assigned grammatical roles as if they had them. The particle "to" is the entity that causes most of the trouble. To assign it to the auxiliary or modal verb makes things a little harder for a language learner trying to infer what the general pattern for its use is. "To" does not combine with most verbs so tightly in pronunciation, but only with a few common common forms of a few common verbs (eg, want, wants, going, have, has, had). They are not all purely modal or auxiliary verbs. How people pronounce the word combination is not the issue, nor whether we should have the entry. The issue is solely whether this is in any way worth presenting as if these were forms of a defective verb (already an improvement over the "to hafta" mess).
My own preference is call all one-word non-constituents "contractions" and "eye dialect". They are contraction of eye-dialect renditions of the pronunciation of the very common, more readily analyzable forms from which they have apparently developed. I also have nothing against referencing in the entry a discussion of alternative grammatical analysis of the terms. Under some circumstances I could imagine that the analysis as separate verb forms with distinct grammatical properties could become appropriate. It is not as if a dictionary has an important role in teaching language learners (or any one) how to speak this kind of term. The value would seem to be in decoding speech or written renditions of speech. At best this might be the early stages of the emergence of new modal verbs. But, it seems like the grammatical equivalent of a neologism. DCDuring TALK 12:09, 17 December 2009 (UTC)