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  1. #1
    pizza is offline Member
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    Default Silent h and unvoiced w

    Regarding the whine/wine merger but without getting too fussy about details and history nor trying to be hypercorrect, am I wrong if I use the unvoiced w (whispered h) before words like:

    what
    when
    whine
    whale

    Also, not exactly related, can you show me some words where the h is silent in English, like:

    hour
    honest
    honor
    heir
    herb

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Silent h and unvoiced w

    Quote Originally Posted by pizza View Post
    Regarding the whine/wine merger but without getting too fussy about details and history nor trying to be hypercorrect, am I wrong if I use the unvoiced w (whispered h) before words like:

    what
    when
    whine
    whale

    Some people use the whispered "wh" and some use the voiced "w". I personally find that a very obvious whispered "wh" sounds somewhat old-fashioned, verging on pretentious.

    Also, not exactly related, can you show me some words where the h is silent in English, like:

    hour
    honest
    honor
    heir
    herb

    Try Googling for more lists of words starting with a silent "h".
    Note: in BrE, we always pronounce the "h" at the beginning of "herb". In AmE, it sounds like "erb".

    See above.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Silent h and unvoiced w

    I find that if I am delivering a prepared talk, the 'whispered h' of my youth comes back, but generally I agree with emsr2d2's opinion - for English people. The form is natural for many Scottish and Irish people.

    If you have been taught to use it, and it comes naturally, don't worry, but I would generally recommend that learners use a standard /w/

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