I want not to... or I don't want to....
To analyze this, consider that three states of desire are possible.
1. I want to watch an infant during the lunch rush on the hottest day of the year. (Positive desire.)
2. I am indifferent to whether or not I watch an infant during the lunch rush on the hottest day of the year. (Lack of desire either way.)
3. I want to not watch an infant during the lunch rush on the hottest day of the year. (Negative desire.)
In critical thought with precision of word choice, to say "I don't want to watch an infant during the lunch rush on the hottest day of the year" negates the first proposition but doesn't necessary affirm either of the following two propositions.
That said, many people do not commonly think or speak with such critical thought or precision. Often, the middle position gets overlooked.
As such, in casual speech, "I don't want to" is often used to mean "I want to not."
In real life, language is used to express both clarity and ambiguity. We are humans and we often like to hide things, perhaps most notably our desires and intentions.
Do these two phrases mean the same thing? A grammarian might be able to give a clear answer, but in the real world, it's a maybe, maybe not.
In this example, I think "I don't want to" would be more commonly heard. Here, I can only guess that the speaker wants to make the desires clear upfront (#3 on my list above), that she is emphatically negative to the idea of watching an infant during the lunch rush on the hottest day of the year.
Finally, I am reminded of the Buddha's perspective that desire and ignorance lie at the root of suffering. Personally, I find it helpful through thinking through wants with such reflection. Maybe I should be OK with the child-minding either way.
I understand that you are not studying Spanish but this is a useful site for getting examples of short phrases in speech. It is SpanishDict [dot] com and I have put "I want not to" in using the 'translation' tab. You can ignore the translations but further down the page you can often find examples of the phrase used in context. https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/I%20want%20not%20to
I think you may also be able to find examples by putting the short phrase into the Google search field in double quotation marks.
It's the same. I personally would never use the the first and I think you would find it very rare that people would use it but you do hear it from time to time.
Agreed. I think the first form is more likely to be found in literary language when the alternative is given: "I want not to this, but rather to that. Whatever action this and that happen to be. But it would be unusual in conversational language.
Hello Khardy and lillyyang, My feeling about the first is that you are not likely to hear (or read) I want not to except in particular usages. If one is in a pensive mood and want to clarify your position/thinking you might say "I want, not to be extremely rich (for example), but to live comfortably without financial worries."
Another way the negative might be expressed could be, "I want to not (notice how the positions are reversed for to and not) see your clothes left all over the floor." This might be a situation where one is telling off a child or a spouse. Same formation, another example: "I want to not be at your beck and call all the time." In other words, I am not your personal servant. :)
In both these phrasings as opposed to "I don't want to" the speaker has taken it out of the casual situation to use more formal language for emphasis.