Aitch & Haitch

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There's an article on the BBC website that suggests that the  pronunciation haitch for the letter H is gaining ground among younger  speakers.  There are many contentious issues in the English language, but I can't think of one that is as venomous as the pronunciation of this letter, with people on both sides expressing hate for the other.

The comments in a poll we did on the issue show some of the angry, curious, bizarre and other opinions and ideas on the issue.  I say aitch but can't say that the thought that haitch will be the dominant pronunciation in a few years worries me at all.

The article also talks about a BBC costume drama in which regional pronunciation from Yorkshire from the 1930s is  OK, but Received Pronunciation had to be changed for  the following reason:

Audiences, it is argued, simply could not sit through a drama and care about a character if they sounded that "posh". They would be too busy laughing.

Much of the rancour in arguments about language seems to stem from causes like snobbery, like the degree of anger some feel (on both sides) about whether it's obligatory to use the subjunctive in If I were.  The writer of the piece is right to distance himself from the people arguing this in my opinion because whoever is arguing this is just replacing Lady Bracknell's snobbery and bigotry with another.

Categories: General

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