an historical (pronouncing the h)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 15 13:16:45 UTC 2010

Joel, I agree.


On Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 8:40 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: an historical (pronouncing the h)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 9/14/2010 11:34 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >I, too, have always pronounced the H. But I have *not* always preceded
> >said H with _an_. After having come across "an historical" in print, I
> >thought that it was right boss and made a conscious decision to modify
> >my grammar to permit that structure. I can't recall that I've ever had
> >occasion to *speak* "an historical, an heroic," etc.. but I think them
> >and write them.
>    I say "an historical" and "an heroic".  With a little huff.  That
> is, different from "an idiot". Self-reported, and self-conscious, and
> therefore suspect.
>    But I also say "a history" and "a hero".  With a definite huff.
>    But everyone knows I'm strange ... and pretentious in my speech.
>    Or -- is that because the first two are stressed on the second syllable,
> and the last two on the first syllable?
>    (Excluding the "a/an" of course.)
>    I could say "a historical" and "a heroic".
>    But I could not say "an history" or "an hero".  Or write
> them.  Or read them without marking up the book.
> Joel
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