H ... how do you pronouce it?

Posted by: Copago

H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 01:43 PM

I know we're heading into a controversial area here for some. But stay calm everyone. This is not going to be a no holds barred wrestling match where you are right and the other side is wrong. A quick look around the Internet shows that people can still get their backs up over this issue .. lots of capitalisation gets used and multiple exclamation marks to try and make people come around to their way of thinking. There is even a Facebook page for it.

So ... deep breath ... do you say
"aitch"
or "haitch"
?

and do you even care how someone else says it?

One of my memories of infants school was my year two teacher who said "haitch" and my mother who tried to stop me from copying it. I was always told it was a Catholic thing, in Australia anyway, to say "haitch" and, perhaps not so much now but in earlier years it could be a class distinction ... the snobs said "aitch" and the commoners said "haitch".
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 03:40 PM

Uh oh.. put me in the "aitch" camp! Am I snobbish? Speech is one of the few things I am a teeny bit snobby about. It doesn't mean I think less of a person but I do cringe internally when I hear "haitch". A mate of mine says quite a few words incorrectly such as "ecscape" with an extra "c" and "haitch". His wife and I just look at each other and grin. Doesn't mean we like him any less or devalue him as a person. In the same way, some very articulate and polished people are total *censored* idiots. I suppose it's an irritation factor more than being snobby.
Posted by: lilyalli

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 04:50 PM

When I hear someone say "haitch", I inwardly cringe, but you can blame my mother for that, as she always used to say there was no such word. I remember her bringing out the dictionary as proof when my brother started to pronounce it with an 'h'. She's right, of course (my mother is never wrong).

My adult daughter, began to say "haitch" a few years ago, after years of "aitch" and I admit I've turned into my mother - as we all do and just have to correct her.
Posted by: TabbyTom

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 05:29 PM

I say aitch.

Haitch is, I think, essentially an Irish form, and has probably made its inroads into Great Britain and Australia through the many Irish teachers in Roman Catholic schools.

None the less, it's perhaps a bit strange that we don't use aspiration for the name of our aspirate letter, especially since we have such an aversion in England to the "dropping" of aitches.
Posted by: agony

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 07:38 PM

Over here, I've never even heard of it being pronounced "haitch" - the issue simply does not arise here.

Now, if you were to ask how to pronounce the *last* letter of the alphabet, that would be another story....
Posted by: ren33

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 07:41 PM

Quote:

Uh oh.. put me in the "aitch" camp! Am I snobbish? Speech is one of the few things I am a teeny bit snobby about. It doesn't mean I think less of a person but I do cringe internally when I hear "haitch". A mate of mine says quite a few words incorrectly such as "ecscape" with an extra "c" and "haitch". His wife and I just look at each other and grin. Doesn't mean we like him any less or devalue him as a person. In the same way, some very articulate and polished people are total *censored* idiots. I suppose it's an irritation factor more than being snobby.



Well I AM snobby about it. to say "haitch "is absolutely incorrect in my opinion. Ridiculous.I do so agree about all your points, especially "ecscape". It makes me cringe too.
Thanks, Jill for bringing this up. I LOVE a good rant about correct speech!
Posted by: bloomsby

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 08:03 PM

I agree with ren.

Incidentally, I don't think 'haitch' is specifically Irish. I've always taken it to be a form of hypercorrection: some people are so terrified of being heard 'dropping' their aitches that they say 'haitch'. It's about as irritating as people saying 'between you and I'.
Posted by: ClaraSue

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 09:35 PM

Like agony, I never even knew there was problem over this. Are there other letters of the alphabet that are pronounced two different ways?
Posted by: ren33

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Tue Feb 23 2010 10:15 PM

Except for the ever ghastly "zee" for "zed", I cannot think of any.
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 12:18 AM

My friend who says "ecscape" and "haitch" went to school at a good private Catholic school so perhaps school was to blame. I do know a number of blokes he went to school with and they don't speak like that. I think it's just him and I suspect part of his speech habit grew from a desire to "stir the pot" and is now ingrained.

That's reminded me of another habit I've noticed developing. Has anyone noticed people saying "pre" instead of "per" in words such as perform, percent, percentage etc? I've heard things such as "It was a good preformance" or "Interest rates have gone down two precent". It's generally quite subtle but now that's I've heard it I can't stop hearing it! I've heard this from Aussies and Americans. Anyone else picked up on this?
Posted by: tezza1551

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 12:49 AM

"aitch"... but my pet hate is the mispronunciation of vulnerable ! There IS an "L" in it.. vunnerable is NOT in mty dictionary !
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: H ... how do you pronouce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 01:13 AM

Tezza! You're so right. How about people talking about the "cuttelry" they use to eat a meal? It's cutlery! Oh I love this topic!
Posted by: Copago

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 02:14 AM

(just fixing up the typo in the title )

By co-incidence I listened to an old podcast this afternoon by Stephen Fry where he spoke of being flexible to those who makes grammatical and spelling errors but the one thing he hates is the "haitch" .
It's worth a listen to if anyone is interested .. if you use iTunes then look up the podcasts for Fry and it is Series 2 episode 3 .. Language. (actually lot of his pocasts are worthwhile!)
Posted by: gillimalta

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 02:47 AM

"Haitch" makes my buttocks clench - true story, folks!
Posted by: lilyalli

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 05:10 AM

Has anyone else noticed Jo Frost's (Supernanny) version of "acceptable"? It is just unasseptable and forces me to yell at tv every time I hear it. I think she should be put in the 'naughty corner' and repeat ten times till she can say it correctly.

Edited to remove the edit which wasn't needed in the first place - not having a good day ....



Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 05:52 AM

I must send an enormous apology to all the Poms here for allowing "Neighbours" and "Home and Away" to introduce the upward inflection at the end of a sentence to BriTAIN. It drives me banANAS. I'm sure it dements the odd English perSON. I heard that a theatre company in London was looking for a teenager who spoke with an accent reminiscent of British movies of the 40s and 50s. Posh without being royal. They couldn't find anyone! All the teens in London now speak with an "Estuary" dialect, partly due to Aussie soaps. Apologies!
Posted by: Tizzabelle

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 06:31 AM

And here's another one which probably makes Aussie here cringe or weep when they hear it. "Straya". That's how some people say Australia. It seems to be a particular habit of athletes. There is an 'l' in AustraLia. One swimmer was advertising a computer company on the radio and every time I heard it all I could hear was "Straya". It put me right off ever buying that brand of computer. Ever!
Posted by: lesley153

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 07:28 AM

I've only ever heard H pronounced aitch in real life.

Occasionally, a character in a TV sit-com will say haitch, and it always gets a laugh (from the studio audience or from the can) because, as Bloomsby said, it's meant to mark the character out as hawfully hunder-heducated and therefore hover-compensating.

I always shout at Jo Frost! I wonder if her mispronunciation is deliberate? Perhaps someone decided to make her say unasseptable because being shouted at is better than not being watched.

When Gary Rhodes was new on the telly, he was always talking about "basalmic" vinegar. He doesn't now, and I can't understand why a trained chef would get the word wrong, unless he wanted something silly to make people remember him - like the spiky hair and chessboard trousers weren't enough. Sorry - best I can do! If they genuinely don't know better, someone needs to tell them.
Posted by: postcards2go

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 08:11 AM

I'm with those who never knew it was pronounced any way other than aitch.

Here's one that drives me batty, especially when I hear newsreaders and weather people say it - Artic instead of Arctic, and Antartica instead of Antarctica.

Is this tied in with the spelling thread? If they can't spell it with the 'c', they don't know to pronounce the 'c'?

(Edited because 'the' and 'they' are not the same word)
Posted by: flopsymopsy

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 08:14 AM

I always thought "haitch" was London... given that my dad was a Londoner and he said "haitch". However, he dropped the letter from several words, such as "hitch" of the knot variety, but stuck an occasional 'h' where none was required. As a child I spent ages in my father's garden shed learning to tie complex knots and I could probably still tie two "arf itches 'n an hicicle itch" should the need arise.

Then I went to grammar school and learnt to talk proper like wot I do now.
Posted by: Trigger7

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 08:33 AM

One of my Pet Peeves in regards to this topic, is the way so many people pronounce "Jewelery"
They are saying Joolery, and I want to ask them "What type of Joola is that ring made of?"
Our local Joolery Store is the most horrible example - The owner appears in the Ad, and he is pronoucing it Joolery! I emailed his company and the radio station about it, still waiting to hear the next ad, to see if my blowing did any good.
Posted by: Copago

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 12:09 PM

"I've only ever heard H pronounced aitch in real life."

Really? That surprises me ... perhaps it's a regional thing for you that it just isn't done?

I found this site while surfing around .. http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/blog0712b.htm if you find the entry for Wednesday 19 December 2007 it says that as many as 24% of those born since 1982 in England use haitch. Perhaps the soaps aren't blameless in that way too ...


"And here's another one which probably makes Aussie here cringe or weep when they hear it. "Straya". "

I live in western NSW and it surprises me if someone puts the L in it
Posted by: ren33

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 05:28 PM

At a very young age I was taught a hymn by my Methodist minister's wife Gran.
I repeated her words for years:
"Jesus I in glory
Lenda listnin gear."
She was from the Black country and pronounced g at the end if 'ing' words and missed every aitch.
so I found out later it is
"Jesus, high in glory,
Lend a listening ear."
Posted by: tezza1551

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 09:30 PM

One thing that is very noticeable within my community (Noongar) is the tendency to pronounce Wednesday exactly as it is written ..wed nes day.
Don't notice it until I have spent a while in the Wadjellah (non aboriginal) community, then when you go back to our mob.. it sticks out like a sore thumb !
Posted by: agony

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 09:34 PM

I associate the pronounced "g" at the end of the "ing" words with Eastern Europeans. The city I grew up in had a very high percentage of Ukrainian and polish immigrants, and I remember so many of my friends' babas with their "Ah, well, you're youn gyet" for "young yet".
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Feb 24 2010 09:46 PM

I have heard the 'haitch' pronunciation in real life... but only by French-Canadians! Many French-Canadians who are only semi-fluent in English pronounce the silent h's in English words, such as 'hour' (it becomes 'hower').
Posted by: Copago

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Feb 25 2010 12:28 AM

"Don't notice it until I have spent a while in the Wadjellah (non aboriginal) community, then when you go back to our mob.. it sticks out like a sore thumb !"

Do the aboriginals say over there "what that is?" if they're asking what something is? I've often wondered if it's a regional thing or if it's done all over in aboriginal communities. It drives me nuts and although I'm sure it's just a part of the language for them I have to correct it
Posted by: bloomsby

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Feb 25 2010 08:19 AM

Native speakers of French sounding all aitches that appear in written English is another example of 'hypercorrection', presumably.
Posted by: agony

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Feb 25 2010 08:30 AM

guitargoddess, you're right, I'd forgotten aobut the French Canadian accent.

Bloomsby, I think you're right, or it may be the same strategy I use when deciding whether a French word is "le" or "la" - I just pick one and use it all the time, figuring I'll be correct half the time, at least.
Posted by: tezza1551

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Feb 25 2010 08:40 AM

Copago, sure do ..do the Eastern States mob tack "unna" on to the end of everything ? Unna can mean "do you agree with me?" "thats right isn't it" or with a slightly different inflection "is that true ?".
Posted by: Santana2002

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Feb 25 2010 03:45 PM

I'm in a minority of one here so far, but I grew up hearing haitch all around me, both at home, school and work, and hearing it pronounced aitch still grates even if it is the 'correct' pronunciation

*Santana toddles off to 'ide 'er face in the shame of her unknowing ignorance*
Posted by: Copago

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Feb 25 2010 05:27 PM

ah yes but you grew up in Ireland so that supports the Catholic theory but it's funny that it never became common in America.

I've said it so often in the last few days that I'm almost lost on how I do say it. I would have thought I said 'haitch' but I know when I'm teaching my son it is 'aitch'. perhaps I change it to the circumstance.
Posted by: fjohn

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Tue Mar 30 2010 11:10 AM

"Aitch." How about library? Liberry? arrhg.
Posted by: sue943

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Wed Mar 31 2010 11:21 AM

Definitely "aitch" for me.
Posted by: The_lioness33

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Thu Apr 08 2010 06:00 AM

"Haitch" for me.
Posted by: reeshy

Re: H ... how do you pronounce it? - Fri Nov 19 2010 08:04 AM

I've always said "haitch". "Aitch" sounds like the person in question is dropping the letter in question, so I associate it with England. :P Most letters' names have their sound in it, which is why I feel it makes more sense to say "haitch" :P