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The Language (and travel) Thread

Carol the Dabbler

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23 hours ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

silent H!!!

What is the method of that madness??

Well, I don't really need explanation, I'm just saying that English drives me nuts for a lot of reasons.

In most current English dialects, silent H occurs in words borrowed from French: e.g., hono(u)r and (in American English) herb.  This is but one example of the main reason why English is so irregular: We've borrowed from so many other languages.

A while back (around Shakespeare's time), *all* of the H's in English were silent.  Then apparently someone said hey, we've got all these H's, let's pronounce them!  And everyone did (except for the Cockneys).

I suspect this explains why H is pretty much the only letter in English that doesn't contain its sound in its name -- except in some dialects where it's called haitch instead of aitch.  My guess is that haitch was its original name, but letter names are used mostly orally, very seldom written, so that by the time people started pronounced their H's again, nobody remembered that aitch used to be haitch.


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  • 4 weeks later...

When I learned alphabet in English, I remember H being the hardest to pronounce. Imagine my rage that after all those hardship, they decide to silent it for many words.

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13 minutes ago, J.P. said:

But there are two sorts of H in German. :P

Well, that makes up for Spanish, I guess!


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