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    #1

    pronunciation question

    dear teacher,
    My name is Stelios and Iam a student on the brink of taking the proficiency test(in December). Of course, somebody who is at this level has many things to ask, but taking note of the fact that I am not capable of remembering now everything that is not clear to my mind, I 'll have to ask one of them, that may not be so important, but has really made me thinking of it all the time. There are many english words that start with "h". My question is: When do we have to pronunciate it and when not? I know that we don't pronunciate it in the word "hour" or "honour", but "h" has to be pronunciated in the word "harmony", fpr example. What is the difference and how are we due to know that one word belongs to a specific category in which words starting with "h" are not to be pronunciated with their first digit?
    I really hope that you will find my question worthy of being answered. In any case, thank you very much for providing us this chance.
    Yours faithfully

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: pronunciation question

    There aren't that many words that begin with "h" in which the "h" is not pronounced. (At least in AmE.) There are only a few, so you can memorize them all. They are:
    herb(s)
    herbal
    hour(s)
    hourly
    honor(s)
    honorable
    honorarium

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: pronunciation question

    Quote Originally Posted by steliosl View Post
    I really hope that you will find my question worthy of being answered. In any case, thank you very much for providing us this chance.
    Yours faithfully
    You'll note that all of Ron's example are derivative from the Romance languages.
    Anglo-saxon words like horse, house, head, hair, hang generally (?always) need the /h/ sound.
    Of course, you'd need some idea about which is which to use this rule.

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: pronunciation question

    There are a couple more, but they are not used very often. They are:
    herbarium
    herbaceous
    Last edited by RonBee; 02-Sep-2008 at 06:25. Reason: spelling: herbaceous


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    #5

    Re: pronunciation question

    But beware - in BrE, "herb" and its derivatives do sound the "h".

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    #6

    Re: pronunciation question

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    There aren't that many words that begin with "h" in which the "h" is not pronounced. (At least in AmE.) There are only a few, so you can memorize them all. They are:
    herb(s)
    herbal
    hour(s)
    hourly
    honor(s)
    honorable
    honorarium
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    There are a couple more, but they are not used very often. They are:
    herbarium
    herbaceous
    I think we should add 'honest', 'honesty', 'honestly'. and 'heir'.
    Up to now the list reads:

    heir(s) - heirless - heirship
    herb(s)
    herbaceous
    herbal
    herbarium
    hour(s)
    hourly
    honor(s)
    honorable
    honorarium
    honest(y)(ly)

    What else?

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: pronunciation question

    Thanks to ymnisky for his sharp eye. The only one that might not have been mentioned before is heiress. (A variation of heir, of course.)

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