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A quick pronunciation lesson on words that begin with a silent "H". If you'd like me to correct any of your comments, please add (pls correct) at the end of your comment.
Canadian Prime Minister: (0:13)
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Hi guys, welcome back to English with Max. This is going to be quite a short pronunciation tutorial. Today we are just going to look at a few words that start with a silent “h”. That is, we're going to look at some words that being with an “h” that you are not supposed to pronounce. If you are interested in watching my video in which I give a general overview of silent letters, the link is right here.
Mispronouncing words that have silent “h”s in English is a very common mistake. I do think it's one of the more unfair aspects of English spelling as it does seem to go against all logic. I can imagine that if you speak a Romance language like Spanish or French, this is probably particularly annoying for you because you've surely been told from the beginning that you have to pronounce all “h”s in English. You might even have spent hours practicing the "h" going "hhhhh". The vast majority of “h”s in English are pronounced, but there are some exceptions.
Now, I'm not going to give you a full list of all the words with silent "h"s. Like I said, I'm just going to give you some words that begin with a silent “h”.
The first word is "heir". This is pronounced exactly the same way as “a-i-r”, as in the air that we breathe. An heir is a person who inherits or is entitled to inherit something, like a property, a title or a position. It's very important that you don't pronounce the "h" in this word, because if you do, you will be saying “hair”. Unfortunately this mistake was made by the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau when he was sworn in as Prime Minister. I'll put a link to it in the info box below. It was rather unfortunate. Yeah, poor thing.
The next word is "honesty". And all of its derivations, so the adjective "honest" and the adverb "honestly". Honestly, just pretend that the "h" isn't there.
Number 3: honour. And all of its derivations, so the adjective "honourable" and the adverb "honourably". This is the British spelling and this is the American spelling.
The next word is "hour", as in there are 60 minutes in one hour. This is pronounced the same way as "o-u-r", the possessive adjective "our".
The final word I want to mention is the word "herb". Are you thinking: "What? But you just pronounced the "h" there, I'm sure you said it." Yes, that's because in British English we do pronounce the "h". So you can say “Basil is a herb”, “Would you like some herbal tea?” But in American English, this "h" is silent. So the words are pronounced “herb” and “herbal”. Don't worry about this too much though, because it is still 100% correct to say "Herb" or "Herbal", but it is never correct to say "Hour" or “Honour” or "Honest", and unless you're talking about this stuff, do not say "hair".
If you find it hard to remember these words, here is a short sentence that might help you. The honest and honourable heir calls his mother every hour. (Oh, what a good boy!)
I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please don't forget to click on the thumbs up, and if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to write them in the comments section down below. See you next time!
Don't worry. There aren't many other words that start with a silent h. 😉 The only one I can think of that isn't a derivation of the words I mentioned is "homage", and some people pronounce that h anyway. 😀
Hello Max, would you please give some lessons about sounds of R and L. Such as WORLD, Rain, etc. the combination R sound + L sound is super difficult for me to pronounce. R + A is another one. I was told that I did it like R + EE. Thank you very much.
I'm sorry, I don't know why I didn't reply to this earlier. I don't know when I'm going to do a video on past tenses ("had"), but I have done a couple on the present simple:
There are many other grammar videos on YouTube though. Good luck!
Hello again, I just had a look at the link you sent me. And I saw the "IZ". It is true that sometimes when we're speaking quickly we drop the "h" in sentences like: "Is he married?" But I personally normally pronounce the "h" in sentences like that. Are you a French-speaker? It's a little like the liaison, but it's optional.
Thanks very much for your accurate and quick answer....anyway I've found this kind of pronunciation in this page of book 'Anglais Methode 90'
So, I understand that's not correct but only could be pronounced in some britain region .....Thanks again
English with Max actually we don't pronounce the h in any words, we have liasions, so we dont pause inbetween vowels or silent h, but some words are different for example, les héros (the heroes) we don't pronounce that s as a z anymore because that h is an aspirated h
+Leornende Eald Englisc Wow, you really seem to know your stuff. I know a bit about the French influence regarding the "h", but why the "h" is pronounced in some French loanwords (like hotel or host) and not in others (honour, heir, etc) is still a mystery to me. But the Germanic influence would make sense.
+English with Max
I would think so because English by default is a West Germanic language with many an influence of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, and Old Anglian, and Old Norse. The whole silent 'h' business comes from French via the Normans invading England in 1066 A.D.
+Leornende Eald Englisc I admit I've never studied Old English, but that doesn't surprise me (considering the evolution of English and all its influences). Was it because of the German influence?
I might check out your channel ;)
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