H-dropping

From Teflpedia

H-dropping (/ˈeɪʧ ˈdrɒpɪŋ(g)/) is the tendency of many English speakers to omit /h/ in words that are conventionally pronounced with /h/.

Form[edit | edit source]

This affects words which are conventionally pronounced with a h sound /h/. These are mainly spelt with h but may begin wh (e.g. who). It does not affect words with silent H which obviously don’t have /h/ anyway. This isn’t necessarily at the start of words, e.g. "Woodhouse".

Some words are conventionally spelt with a monograph letter H but the H is not pronounced (e.g. hour); this is silent H rather than h-dropping. H in digraphs e.g. th, gh; this is also not h-dropping.

Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

The h sound is dropped from the start of words that should begin with /h/ according to convention.

This may result the indefinite article a changing to an, so for example "a horse" sounds like "an 'orse".

Intrusive /r/ may also be used in non-rhotic accents, so that "Victoria Hospital" sounds like "Victoria Rospital".


Appropriacy[edit | edit source]

Although often associated with London accents, particularly Cockney, it is, in fact, common to most non-standard dialects of English in England and Wales.[1]

It is more commonly found in rapid speech rather than careful speech.


Learner English[edit | edit source]

H-dropping in learner English is particularly prevalent in French accent, as the /h/ sound is not usually found in French.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sounds Familiar? British Library