H, h .

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The 8th LETTER of the Roman ALPHABET as used for English. It derives from the Phoenician consonant heth, ancestor of the Greek letter eta (H). The Romans adopted eta lớn represent the ASPIRATE sound /h/.Sound Value In English, h represents a voiceless glottal fricative at the beginning of syllables before a vowel: hat, behind, abhor, mishap.Silent H (1) In syllable-final position, in exclamations such as ah, eh, oh & in such loans (usually Hebrew and West or South Asian) as chutzpah, Jehovah, Messiah, Sara(h), howdah, veranda(h). (2) In words of Greek origin, after r: catarrh, h(a)emorrhage, rhapsody, rhinoceros, rhododendron. Rhyme (also rime) is so spelt by analogy with rhythm. (3) In Thames, thyme, và sometimes Anthony. (4) By elision after a stressed syllable (annihilate, shepherd, Chatham), và after ex- even at the onset of a stressed syllable (exhaust, exhibit, exhort). (5) In speech, commonly elided in he, him, his, her in unstressed positions, especially following a consonant: What did "e do; Tell us "er name. This elision affected the spelling và pronunciation of the Middle English pronoun hit, resulting in Modern English it. (6) After c in words of Greek & Italian origin, but indicating that the c is pronounced /k/: archangel, archive, chemist, monarch, stomach, technical, chiaroscuro, scherzo: & by analogy ache, modern spelling for earlier ake. (7) In words of Celtic origin, ch is generally pronounced /k/ (clarsach, loch), but in ScoE & often in IrE is a velar fricative /x/. English in England may have silent h in Irish names such as Callaghan, though in IrE and ScoE the g is generally silent. See C.French H Words derived from French vary in their use of h. Sometimes h has never been established in English: for example, able from Latin habilis, French habile. Sometimes h reached English, but has never been pronounced: heir, honest, honour, hour. Sometimes as silent French h has come lớn be pronounced in standard English: horrible, hospital, host, hotel, human, humour, humble.

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In some words h was introduced in English as in hermit, hostage (compare French ermite, otage), eventually coming to lớn be pronounced. The h of herb is pronounced in standard BrE, but not in standard AmE.Initial H The uncertainty of initial h is shown in the controversy over the use of an before some words of French origin: an heroic attempt và an historic occasion as opposed to a heroic attempt & a historic occasion. Although it is now generally conventional lớn say a hotel, the khung an hotel was once widespread và still occurs in England. In such cases, the h may or may not be pronounced in BrE (an heroic attempt or an "eroic attempt) & is pronounced in AmE. This use of an before h is widely regarded as pretentious (especially when the h is pronounced), and has always been limited to lớn words in which the first syllable is unstressed: no *an hopeless case or *an hot day.H-dropping Also aitch-dropping. In England & Wales there are several h-less accents, such as Cockney và Brummie, where the pronunciations an "orrible "appening & an "opeless case are normal. In written dialogue associated with such accents, unpronounced h is represented, as here, by an apostrophe.Digraphs (1) H following some consonants may represent special joint values, as in the digraphs ch, gh, ph, sh, th, wh. See C, G, P, S, T, W. (2) This use of h was first established in Latin, which used ch, ph, & th for the Greek letters chi, phi, & theta. The digraphs ch, sh developed in English after the Norman Conquest. Wh arose analogically by reversing Old English hw. Gh was introduced to represent the Old English palatal or velar fricative previously often spelt 3 (YOGH), itself going back lớn an old English h-form (old English liht becoming liʒt then light), and th was substituted for the Old English letters ð (ETH) và þ (THORN). (3) H can be used in such digraphs because its usual value does not normally occur after consonants, except across syllable boundaries (see below).Other features (1) In some circumstances, ambiguity can arise regarding what may or may not be a digraph. Syllable boundaries may be unclear, so that the separate values of sh in mishap may be read together as in bishop. Uncertainty over syllable boundaries has influenced the spelling in threshold (contrast withhold). (2) The element -ham in place-names in England is often ambiguous in terms of pronunciation, the h being sometimes assimilated into a digraph (as in Grantham), sometimes not (as in Clapham). The spelling provides no guidance in such words. (3) In some languages, h can indicate aspiration of a preceding consonant (bhakti, jodhpur, khaki), but this use usually appears unmotivated to lớn monolingual English speakers, who ignore it, especially in Indian usage (bharat natyam, dharma, Jhabvala, Madhukar) và often take aspirated t lớn be the conventional th digraph (hatha yoga, Marathi).