dorsetgirl (dorsetgirl) wrote in linguaphiles,

Use of "Imma"

I'm sorry, I know I sound like some crusty old reactionary here. It's just that this is something that for some reason I find particularly irritating, and I wondered how others feel about it. I generally find things easier to accept if I understand the reasoning behind them, so my question is:

When (and WHY for heaven's sake?) did the made-up word "Imma" start to be used for (as far as I can work out) "I'm going to"?

Quite apart from the fact that it doesn't make sense, even the spelling doesn't make sense, to me at least. I'm assuming that it's meant to sound like "EYE-muh", so why is there a double-m in there?

And if it's too hard to say "I'm going to need you to...", why not simply say "I need you to..." ?

As I start to look ancient-ness in the face, I find it increasingly difficult to know whether things that I find odd or alien are just natural changes in the language, or whether they're American usage, teenage catch-phrases or just internet-meme things. (Though I suspect that those last three are often all the same thing nowadays. We're so heavily outnumbered on the internet that our children don't even know many of the things they pick up aren't normal British usage).

So is "Imma" standard American usage? I've even seen educated middle-aged people using it. And does anyone know how and where this abbreviation arose?
Tags: american english, colloquialisms, slang

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