Saturday, 10 March 2012

How Many H's ?!

How Many H's ? !? 

One of the reasons for the triumph of the Roman alphabet over other scripts is that its combination of vowel and consonant signs makes it extremely adaptable to a variety of sound systems.

Most of us take H a fricative for granted ... oh h yeah sometimes its silent and sometimes people use it after a vowel to show a long or rounded vowel sound but our simple humble H is also used to show other sounds.

the symbol on the left is PHARYNGEAL and although we do not  have it in English it is used in Hebrew and Arabic .

The sound to the right a GLOTTAL is used in Igbo an African language but also in Dutch  and Czech.

Here's some languages with our H a glottal fricative.

English, Korean, Magyar, Japanese, Hidi, Thai, Hausa, Cantonese, Amharic. 

There's also a VELAR fricative sound  written as [x] by linguists that 's also written as a h used in Croat, Bulgarian, German, Gaelic Farsi and Sindhi.

The 2 rarest "H" sounds are probably the Epiglottal  Fricative used in AVAR and a soun dthat appears in Swedish dialects which is a sh+ x and written 'sj' though the IPA symbol looks like the sign on the right with a descender curl. 

A final use fo H to note is the use of h after a consonant to show its a palatal or palatalized as in Portugese and Catalan NH and LH.

So if you're planning to learn any of these languages bear in mind that simple H letter in the Roman Alphabet sections of the text may not be the H you're familiar with?!