- (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 /l‿ɔm/ and les hommes /le‿zɔm/, but never /lə ɔm/ and /le ɔm/, like we do with the aspirated h.
1913, James Geddes, French Pronunciation, 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, 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.