The H in Hat / h /
Pronunciation Activation Pack – 35
Hat / hæt /
In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the unvoiced glottal fricative consonant sound / h /.
We will look at the letter combinations that give the / h / sound.
We will look at lots of words which have the / h / sound in them.
Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the
/ h / sound correctly.
The / h / sound is a glottal fricative. It is basically just an exhalation of breath, the smoothness of which is broken by a slight constriction of the throat around the glottis.
The / h / sound on the chart is shown in blue, which means that is it is unvoiced.
Letter Combinations for / h /
This unvoiced glottal fricative only has these letter combinations:
H, and WH.
Position of / h /
The / h / sound is only heard at the start of syllables.
- huge / hjuːdʒ /
- behind / bɪ.ˈhaɪnd /
In words where the letter H occurs other than at the start of a syllable, it is not heard.
- cough / kɒf /
- taught / tɔːt /
The Silent H is mostly found in some words of French origin.
Sometimes we have lost the / h / sound as a word is easier to say without it.
Some regional accents in Britain “drop” the / h / at the start of words. Such H-dropping has been seen as careless or uneducated since the 17th Century.
However, many function words lose the / h / in the weak forms: he, him, her, had, have, has…
Hungry hitchhikers hitchhike home the whole way.
/ ˈhʌŋ.ɡri ˈhɪtʃ.haɪkəz ˈhɪtʃ.haɪk həʊm ðə həʊl ˈweɪ /
Whose helmet has been here an hour?
/ huːz ˈhel.mɪt həz biːn hɪər ən ˈaʊə /
Perhaps there is horror ahead at home.
/ pə.ˈhæps ðə ɪz ˈhɒ.rər ə.ˈhed ət həʊm /
Who is this honest heir who happens to be happy?
/ huː z ðɪs ˈɒ.nɪst eə huː ˈhæ.pənz tə bi ˈhæp.i /
Problems for Students
The only problem with the / h / sound is with the Silent H at the beginning of words.
There are no minimal pairs that cause a problem with any other sounds.
In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at words which have the Silent H in them.
Resources and Activators
As with all of my English Activation Packs, this Activation Pack has valuable resources to help you activate the language in this lesson.
Download the resources from the link at the top left.
You will also find the Activators at the end of the Pack.
These will give you plenty of exercises to help you make the language in this lesson part of your active vocabulary.
Interactive British English IPA Chart
Become a Britlisher!
Register for a free account and get a 14-Day Britlish Library Pass.