Dropping the aitch from "human"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 19 01:32:10 UTC 2006

At 6:38 PM -0600 12/18/06, Gordon, Matthew J. wrote:
>I think you need to differentiate h-dropping in 'human, humor,
>humid' etc. from the others. In these cases you have consonant
>cluster simplification /hj/ > /j/ which continues a long tradition
>in the history of English. This flavor of h-dropping is associated
>with NY/NJ but I can't find a citation for that. I checked Wells and
>found no mention of it. I'm 99% sure that it's not mentioned in
>Labov's Phonological Atlas.
Good point.  I suspect I've heard a bunch of instances of h-dropping
in such proper names as "Houston" and "Hugh" without even noticing
it.  (The former only for the city, not the street that marks the
SoHo boundary--if someone pronounced the street name as "OW-ston",
now *that* I'd have noticed.)

It seems to me I do in fact dimly recall cases of communication
breakdown over references to "Hugh" vs. "you".  Now of course we know
that it's the latter, not the former, who has been selected as Time's


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list