French speakers...I know you find /h/ difficult to say. But here is a great surprise, you can say it, you just say it when you don´t want to ;)
Often when a word starts with an "A" you add an /h/; “angry” becomes “hungry”, “ate” becomes “hate”.
Curiously when the word starts with an /h/ it is sometimes dropped and an “a” or schwa
/ə / is added “She has no art”!
The French are not alone, we all know English is not phonetic – we rarely say what we write. Sometimes a /ch/ sound (this is a sound that comes from the very back of the throat and sounds like someone is clearing their throat) can also be heard replacing an /h/; hotel becomes chotel.
If you would like to improve your English pronunciation then please read on J
Try saying angry and ate - put your hand or a mirror in front of your mouth. Do you feel hot air on your hand? Does the mirror steam up? If the answer to these questions is “Yes” then, you have produced an /h/.
Next try saying the "a" words, of course this time you should not feel the air on your hand or see steam on your mirror.
When we produce an h sound, the vocal folds in your voice box open completely and air escapes easily. When we make an “a” sound the vocal folds quickly open and close so less air escapes.
If you make the /ch/ sound then you can place your hand around the front of your throat, if you feel a vibration then you are still making the /ch/ sound.
H is not pronounced with voice.
These “minimal pairs” are a useful to check you are pronouncing your words correctly, practice them and see how you do.
hand – and
his – is
hungry - angry
hear - ear
heat – eat
heart - art
high – eye/I
hill – ill
had - add
You can click on this link to see my video showing you how to practice this: English tips and tricks to the "H" sound
I hope this helps, I would love to know how you get on. :)
Don´t miss part 2 of “H The Series”, FOLLOW ME!