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Thread: aitch

  1. #1
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    aitch

    OK, anyone who has googled this knows all the drama it can produce.

    The pronounciation of the letter H/h is one that has only recently given me real cause for concern. Allow me to explain.

    I was brought up in a school and family that asserted (universally) that the correct way to pronounce H is aitch. I was given some rather hazy explanations of where haych or haitch (sp?) came from which I need not go into - they are the common ones easily researched.

    This has become one of the strange and delicate issues I need to resolve with my wife since she pronounces it with the soft expiration "huh" and it annoys me more than it should. I managed to turn a discussion with my inlaws around to such matters and we all learned that they believe the correct pronounciation is Aitch. And my wife has no idea where and why it has never occured to her or worried her - and furthermore - why it should worry me.

    But I am wondering what to do when our children are exposed to schools that may teach one or the other, and then they hear both at home and ask which is right. I can't and don't really expect my wife to change her pronounciation - that would perhaps be pedantry or at least my being unnecessarily critical. It does bother me though - it seems that I believe very strongly that this is a case of "the correct way to do something" that I would like to have validated somehow.

    There are other less annoying differences in the way that we both use english and my wife will happily admit that my education was a more rigorous and perhaps, traditional one than hers, and that I went on to continue to study and read in such a way as to appear to give me a superior position in this case.

    So what do people thing on this interesting problem of family politics that directly necessiates a clear position to be adopted at least for the sake of the children (or is that me hiding behind my own insecurities???)

    Will

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: aitch

    My mother, a linguistic conservative, brought me up to believe 'haitch' was wrong, so I know that feeling because it has stuck with me. It's very hard to change such attitudes, so I'd turn it into a foible and pass it on that way. I know that 'If I was' is perfectly correct, but I would still prefer my children, if I had any, to use 'If I were'.

  3. #3
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    Re: aitch

    Thank you, that is a very reasonable and well considered reply. More and more these days we seem almost expected to allow the conservative traditions to be discarded as though they are somehow irrelevant.

    I must be riddled with foibles and yet I am aware that my desire to maintain certain linguistic traditions need not make me a pedant.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: aitch

    A lot of it is down to atitude- the problem with pedantry is that t can become superior and judgmental, which I don't partuclarly like, but I don't see anything wrong with having a preference for certain forms and passing them on.

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