mute h

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French h muet

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

mute h (plural mute h's)

  1. (linguistics) In the French language usage of the letter h at the start of a word which allows liaison with a preceding consonant.
    The French word homme ("man") begins by a mute h. Consequently we can say l'homme IPA(key): /l‿ɔm/ and les hommes IPA(key): /le‿zɔm/, but never IPA(key): /lə ɔm/ and IPA(key): /le ɔm/, like we do with the aspirated h.
    • 1913, James Geddes, French Pronunciation[1], page 83:
      Whether the h be a mute h or an aspirate h, it may be regarded in either case as absolutely silent.
    • 1994, Thomas M. Donnan, French Lyric Diction[2], page 83:
      In French initial h’s are called either mute h’s (the greatest number) or aspirate h’s (fewer in number, but frequent nonetheless).
    • 2006, Laura K. Lawless, The Everything French Grammar Book, page 29:
      The only difference between the two is that a mute h allows contractions and liaisons in front of it, and an aspirated h does not.

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