Word of the Week (182): MAUNNA (probability 16122), by David Sutton

MAUNNA is a Scots form of 'must not'. It occurs memorably in a splendid piece of poetic defiance by Robert Burns against those who did not approve of his free and easy relationships with women:

'The Kirk and State may join and tell
To do such things I maunna.
The Kirk and State can gae to hell
And I'll gae to my Anna'

There are several other Scots or dialect forms where the negative enclitic -na or -nae has been joined to the root verb. They are:

DINNAdo not (also DINNAE)
DIVNAdo no
DOWNAcannot, cannot be bothered
ISNAis not (also ISNAE)
WINNAwill not

To these one can add CANNA (also CANNAE) meaning cannot (though CANNA is more usefully remembered either as the showy flower or as a name for cotton-grass, the latter having a variant CANNACH), and just for completeness GONNA for 'going to', though this merely reflects a relaxed pronunciation rather than negativity.


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