Should I use "A handover" or "An handover"? I see this expression many times in the context of mobile communications written both ways (e.g. "the mobile node performed a handover between two attachment points"). Which one is the correct?
Thanks in advance,
Luizao, thanks for the reply .
What grammar rule have you used to reach that conclusion? I have looked in grammars (books), "googled" and have found somewhat different rules. The best one I found was the following:
Articles: A versus An
"A" goes before all words that begin with consonants.
- a cat
- a dog
- a purple onion
- a buffalo
- a big apple
with one exception: Use an before unsounded h.
- an honorable peace
- an honest error
"An" goes before all words that begin with vowels:
- an apricot
- an egg
- an Indian
- an orbit
- an uprising
with two exceptions: When u makes the same sound as the y in you, or o makes the same sound as w in won, then a is used.
- a union
- a united front
- a unicorn
- a used napkin
- a U.S. ship
- a one-legged man
Note: The choice of article is actually based upon the phonetic (sound) quality of the first letter in a word, not on the orthographic (written) representation of the letter. If the first letter makes a vowel-type sound, you use "an"; if the first letter would makes a consonant-type sound, you use "a." So, if you consider the rule from a phonetic perspective, there aren't any exceptions. Since the 'h' hasn't any phonetic representation, no audible sound, in the first exception, the sound that follows the article is a vowel; consequently, 'an' is used. In the second exception, the word-initial 'y' sound (unicorn) is actually a glide [j] phonetically, which has consonantal properties; consequently, it is treated as a consonant, requiring 'a'.
Yes, it does . Thanks a lot .
The problem was the pronunciation of handover. I thought handover had a silent "h". Again, I commonly hear the word "handover" expressed vocally both ways (sounded and unsounded h). Maybe because most of the people with whom I speak English are not native in this language...
One closing question if you don't mind. Is there any rule to know if a word has a sounded/unsounded h? Or we just have to know?
Last edited by lamv; 27-Feb-2009 at 00:20.
English spelling is not phonetic so you just have to know. An English speaker, as opposed to a writer, has no problems with this.
A uniform, 'You' sound.
An uncle, 'uh' sound.
Both begin with 'un'.
In dialects where people drop their h's you will hear them say "an otel" instead of "a hotel". They are applying the a-an rule to how they speak the words. But they are unlikely to do this is written form.
What's a handover?
Thanks for your clarification.
@ Charlie Bernstein
In telecommunications, it is necessary to change the point of attachment (a.k.a base station) to the network when moving with a wireless device (e.g. mobile phone). This operation is called "handover".
Last edited by lamv; 27-Feb-2009 at 01:06.
Please check this link to the Merriam-webster dictionary:
handover - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
In the audio example the h seems to be silent . Am I right? Can someone please confirm through the phonetic of the word? The two referred exceptions (honest, honorable) seem to be, in fact, phonetically different from the word "handover" in terms of the h pronunciation.
honorable: \ˈä-nər-(ə-)bəl, ˈän-rə-\
Last edited by lamv; 27-Feb-2009 at 01:50.