h in honor

Discussion in 'English Only' started by doodlebugger, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. doodlebugger Senior Member

    Is the h in honor silent?
    Like most French people I am struggling with the h pronunciation.
    Are there many words in English that start with a silent h?
    That would help me tremendously!
  2. Tatzingo

    Tatzingo Senior Member

    Where on Earth??
    English, UK


    I can't give you a definitive list but here are a few;

    honour(able/ably) (honor - US spelling)

  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    In the U.S. the number of words with a silent "h" varies by region. :) I believe these are silent in all parts of the U.S. (I'm speaking only about American English):

    vehicle (nearly silent, even though there are three distinct syllables)

    I have heard certain accents in the U.S. where the h is very light or even absent on the following words:


    Sometimes a word that starts with an "h" that is normally pronounced will have the "h" fall silent when "an" is placed in front of it:

    an historic moment

    These seem to be fading from American English, though.

    The "h" can be silent in the middle of the word, too:


    That's not an exhaustive list, and as I said, it's American English. I know some of these words are pronounced differently in British English.

    I'm still struggling with the concept of "aspirated h" in French - an "h" that is not pronounced but should be treated as if it were for matters of liaison. That seems much more confusing to me than our silent and spoken "h"s. :)
  4. savannah Senior Member

    English, USA
    I've occasionally heard unpronounced "h" in these particular cases JamesM mentioned: humor

    But I'm fairly certain that, with this set of words, many people would consider that lack of "h" an error, and at least where I'm from (the deep South in the US), we'd consider a pronunciation such as "yooman" to be gauche. My grandmother would disapprove!:)
  5. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
  6. doodlebugger Senior Member

    Thanks you all.
    It does not make things simpler for me I'm afraid.
    James is right though, the French aspirated h is probably as confusing!
  7. mplsray Senior Member

    I snipped other examples.

    While the pronunciations of herb and herbal with an initial [h]-sound are rare enough in American English that some Americans actually consider those pronunciations to be errors, there are nevertheless enough Americans who pronounce the h that lexicographers consider these to be standard American pronunciations.

    And while such words as herbicide and herbivore are usually pronounced in American English with the h sounded, some Americans nevertheless pronounce those words with the h silent.

    See, for example, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed.
  8. petereid

    petereid Senior Member

    selby yorkshire
    And we have "Hotel", in which the h is sometimes silent and sometimes aspirated
    There's a small hotel, the h is aspirated,
    I'm staying at an hotel in Florence, The h is not aspirated , if you're english
    If you are an american, you would say:-
    I'm staying at a hotel in Florence. The h is aspirated

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