Dropping the aitch from "human"

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Dec 19 14:18:14 UTC 2006

There's also the pseudo-h-dropping in such constructions as "an historian."  Aren't those are high-brow affectations?


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 20:32:10 -0500
>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Dropping the aitch from "human"
>---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Dropping the aitch from "human"
>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

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