Aitch or Haitch - what gets your vote?

I know, I know language, and especially english, evolves.  It's fluid adapting to fashion, innovation and simplicity however, is this a step too far?

I don't know why it grates so much, but it does.  I have listened & bitten my tongue thinking that the young'ns will grow up, mix with older influencers and drop the habit but I'm not so sure, I fear it is here to stay and even become the standard.

The final straw, and what prompted this grumpy posting, was listening to Graham Norton advertising his show this Friday and saying it was also on HD, ie haitch D.  Yes it was haitch rather than Haitch but it sounded like he did it deliberately (just to annoy me).

In addition to it grating what I can't understand is that I find Haitch more difficult to pronounce than Aitch and so it seems to fly in the face of normal evolunionary change, which has lead to the H being dropped elsewhere.  The irony is that, in an article on the BBC last year, someone suspected that Haitch came about because kids were constantly birated for dropping the H!

Ho Hum - back to me jig-saw init

Comments

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Definitely Aitch

Barry1971a | | Permalink

This is a topic that gets me quite annoyed & for no good reason at all. I understand that people are different & they all have their own way of talking. I constantly get told off for talking too fast & using locally (Aberdeen) recognised words when speaking to people from further afield.

The words & phrases that particularly grate with me are:

  • Haitch instead of Aitch
  • Disrespected or disrespecting (what does that mean?)
  • Adding super to the start of other words like F1 commentators do - "He is being super-aggressive"
  • Writing 'there' when it should be 'their'

Is it because I is reaching 40 next month? 

I fear for when my son grows up a bit more & becomes a teenager, then I really will be in trouble. Get the aspirin on standby! 

Democratus's picture

It's an Irish thing Paul - and dangerous over here in NI

Democratus | | Permalink

Haitch or Aitch can get you labelled.

The former is deemed an Irish pronounciation and therefore Catholic/ Nationalist/ Republican/ Terrorist/ Freedom Fighter ...take your pick.

The latter is therefore obviously a Protestant/ Unionist/ Loyalist/ Terrorist/ Freedom Fighter.....etc

Say Haitch or Aitch in the wrong place ....!!!!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Another aitch here

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

Don't start me Paul, you've opened a can of worms!

As Barry, I hate misuse of there/their, but equally your/you're; there/they're;whose/who's ete etc

Other major irks are the pronounciation of schedule (there's no K, grrrr), privacy (it's not Pry-vacy) and controversy (it's not contra-versy).

I'll stop now or I'll rant all afternoon!

Where you are spelling a word, I tend to use the phonetic alphabet rather than mangle names of letters, so if it were a bad line rather than say Haitch for emphasis I would say "H, (for) hotel", or sometimes just the phonetic alone. If you don't know it, or think the listener may not, use something else, Harold/Henry/Hurricane etc etc.

thisistibi's picture

I remember    1 thanks

thisistibi | | Permalink

Quote:

Aitch vs Haitch

British English dictionaries give aytch as the standard pronunciation for the letter H. However, the pronunciation haytch is also attested as a legitimate variant. We also do not ask broadcasters who naturally say haytch to change their pronunciation but if a broadcaster contacted to ask us, we would tell them that aytch is regarded as the standard pronunciation in British English, people can feel very strongly about this and this pronunciation is less likely to attract audience complaints.

Haytch is a standard pronunciation in Irish English and is increasingly being used by native English-speaking people all across the country, irrespective of geographical provenance or social standing. Polls have shown that the uptake of haytch by younger native speakers is on the rise. Schoolchildren repeatedly being told not to drop Hs may cause them to hyper-correct and insert them where they don't exist.

Jo Kim

BBC Pronunciation Unit

johnjenkins's picture

Paul

johnjenkins | | Permalink

if you listen to "gay" men they say Haitch and "gay" women say aitch. I have a friend (surprise surprise) called Harry and his nick name is aitch.

Remember the Luton Airport advert OGA!!!!!!!!! That should get you going.

I think the whole argument is that once upon a time there were values, now anything goes. (Thanks GB).

ShirleyM's picture

@johnjenkins

ShirleyM | | Permalink

LOL ... twasn't GB it was Maggie!

Just thought I would ring the changes from everything being GB's fault ;)

Personally, I think all politicians are a waste of space, but somebody has to do it! Can't remember who, but somebody on AWeb said recently that the people who want the job won't be any good at it, and the people who would be good at it, don't want the job .... or words to that effect!

johnjenkins's picture

@Shirley

johnjenkins | | Permalink

Sounds like the England Football managers job. (we won't mention the rugby).

I must take issue with you regarding Maggie. She managed to do what no Labour Government has ever achieved and that was to raise the standard of living for the poorest and whittle away at class distinction. She gave a lot of people a purpose and feel good factor which, in my view, GB totally destroyed. Some people might say she destroyed a lot of manufacturing (mining etc.) in this country, but you have to ask the question. Isn't it better to destroy something before it destroys you?  She had foresight and logic that no other politician has ever had.  

Henry Osadzinski's picture

Dusting off my mortar board...

Henry Osadzinski | | Permalink

While I can still remember half the stuff that was spouted at me while I was completing my Linguistics degree, I wanted to come in and say how glad I was to see acknowledgements that language is fluid and dynamic and that it can be nigh on impossible, from an objective point of view, to say what is "right" or "wrong". 

I think Democratus raises an interesting point though - I feel that it's not so much whether people are using one pronunciation or another but more that the connotations of "haitch" can speak volumes about a speaker's attitude or intentions if used in certain situations. The example of Graham Norton appearing to do it on purpose would likely set my teeth on edge as it goes against his "natural" pronunciation.

The hyper-correction theory is something I'd love to look into more. It's amazing to think that, as Paul notes, it goes against the idea that the path of least resistance is the usual trend for adoption.

 

Phew, I haven't raved about language in a while. Feels nice :-)

ShirleyM's picture

@johnjenkins

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Nope ... you won't change my mind about Maggie!

I remember all the hospital wards that she closed, and people off work for months & months waiting for operations! I also think she started the greed, and the me, me, me mentality of today.

I'm no hypocrite, she did some good stuff, too, as do most PM's.

Democratus's picture

At least Becky is out there starting a fight back

Democratus | | Permalink

Henry

 

any word from Becky - is she sane now?

johnjenkins's picture

@Shirley

johnjenkins | | Permalink

If by allowing ordinary people to own their own homes and start their own business you call me me me then I would have to agree. Then along came the financial institutions and took it all away just like they are doing now. Sorry Shirley I think we all know who the greedy ones are. As for people out of work I seem to remember the 3 day week and "what crisis".

ShirleyM's picture

We each have our own opinions

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Yes, maybe for longer term tenants they got their first chance at home ownership and I agree with that, but people were 'cashing in' by buying after very short periods of tenancy and that didn't sit well with me personally, as I don't altogether agree with virtually 'giving away' social housing.

One thing I did admire her for was the community tax, which, with some modification would have been much fairer than council tax, but as we all know, that brought about her downfall. Just goes to show what public opinion and pressure groups can achieve!

I am not trying to convince you to agree with me over Maggie, but you won't change my opinion either.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

And I thought this was a linguistics thread ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... not a political one.

To return to the topic raised, I am all for a fluid and dynamic language, but through invention and necessity, not through ignorance and torpor.

The English language is probably the most robust in the world, when It doesn't have a word for something it either makes one up or it steals one.

The instances above are largely ignorance not any dynamic evolution, and this ignorance hampers communication. As John says, hooray for Becky, and a few more like her in the classroom will make a difference.

To me, a thorough knowledge of spelling, grammar and numeracy, with some basic mathematics are the most essential lessons to be taught in school. Without these building blocks the rest is irrelevant. You may be a genius Chemist, Physicist, Biologist, Designer etc, but without the skills to properly communicate you are unlikely to get "found" by an employer.

If children are given the tools to communicate and express themeselves properly they will, in my opinion of course, have a better chance of succeeding, If they have a bent for a topic that will out, and with the tools I describe above they will be better able to exploit their talents.

Sorry, got a bit political there!

ShirleyM's picture

I agree OGA

ShirleyM | | Permalink

The basic skills of the three 'R's don't seem to be given any importance these days, but yet more and more schools claim to have high exam success!

 

johnjenkins's picture

Not so sure

johnjenkins | | Permalink

OGA. For the most part yes the 3r's are an integral part and will be needed by most. However, and you go back as far as I do, 13year olds used to bunk off school, ended up on a buiding site or helping his dad. By the time they were 20 they were quailfied builders, with not a lot of academic education, employing people, but education then came by meetings etc. We have actually lost that oportunity, hence many out there dropping their aitches etc.

@Shirley. I agree the poll tax was a good thing and her collleaugues should have stood by her. I also remember protesters rioting and attacking the police to try and get their own way. Had the poll tax been implemented we wouldn't have seen the "binge and drug culture" take such a hold.

As I see it Maggie didn't give "social housing" away. Councils were paid over and above the cost of building the property. What should have happened was that money used to build and replace stock in run down areas. But (oooo naughty started a sentence with but) I agree it's good to have different hopinions.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Paul ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... sorry just spotted, it's berated, not birated - lol

I am sure you spotted it yourself but as we can't edit the OP there was nothing you could do :o)

Henry Osadzinski's picture

@Democratus

Henry Osadzinski | | Permalink

We've had the odd update about how Becky's getting on with training but haven't heard much yet. No doubt she's knee deep in the kind of things we're talking about here though :-) If we hear more I'll put up an update either in Time Out or a blog for everyone.

johnjenkins's picture

@OGA

johnjenkins | | Permalink

glad you didn't spot my 3 lll's.

Democratus's picture

Accents, pronounciation, trust, grammar

Democratus | | Permalink

This links nicely to accents and deemed trustworthyness..

I seem to remember a survey a few yaesr ago where people were asked their opoinion on regional accents and trustworthyness. I believe the Scots came ourt well in this but the Scousers and Black Country were not rated highly.

It's a copmplicated thing and the mixture of education and accents can have some life changing effects on young people.

I know a lot of intelligent people who can't see the difference between for example

"did" and "done"

"If i were" and "if i was"

etc.

Yes i wince in meetings when people say things like" Here's what i done" and can only hope that things improve. It's difficult to correct those of us who have past the age of learning.

What do you do with your staff? Do you tell them there is a better way of saying things and risk upsetting them or do you just bite your tongue and carry on?

glass houses OGA?

Marion Hayes | | Permalink

...roust....  or robust?

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Marion ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

showing your ignorance there:

roust/roust/ 

Verb:
  1. Cause to get up or start moving; rouse: "I rousted him out of his bed".
  2.  Treat roughly; harass.

I was sympathising with the rough treatment our language gets, yet it always comes up smiling. As the lesser educated on here may have the same difficulty as you I have amended to your suggestion, which works equally well, and may avoid problems for the hard of thinking.

Who remembers "Call my Bluff" - excellent program :o)

Democratus, eitehr you were thionking quicker than you type or you are playing mind games on us - lol.

On your subject, I get irked when the wrong words are used - borrowed instead of lent, learned instead of taught etc. ( e.g. my Dad learned me how to read!)

EDIT: Watch carefully for an example here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IaWmj3a3Ts

OGA

Marion Hayes | | Permalink

hadn't quite thought of  that application I must admit - I associate the word roust with Rawhide, High Chapperal etc as in rousting cattle.

Although not quite in the Morcombe class I had assumed Democratus was daring us to comment, although we all have days when our fingers just can't seem to hit the target.... Language is one of the flexible tools we have - beautiful when used properly       

 

Old Greying Accountant's picture

The Two Ronnies ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... were masters of language, the way they manipulated it and bent it to near breaking point was sublime, and never once did they have to resort to foul language for a laugh.

That leads on to how a certain word seems to be interchangeable with any other, be it noun or verb, you know the one I mean.

Paul Scholes's picture

Catharthis

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Ignoring the Thatcher virus, thank's to all, it's done me the world of good and I think I can actually be a bit more like objective(?) 24 hours on.

I went to a talk given by Richard Dawkins last night in which he showed his imaginary family photo record starting with his Dad and then going back some 150M great grandparents to demonstrate that whilst you may start with a fish and end with Richard there is no one photo or even batch of 1,000 photos in which you can see the changes happen, but they do,

He was asked, if he had a time machine, to which photo would he want to return and he answered "the point at which language began", ie the point at which one random change in a small number of genes gave their carriers the benefit of meaningful communication.

Whilst I share with others an obsession over the meaning and history of words, language will always evolve to best match the circumstances in which it finds itself.....init.

Democratus's picture

OK - I can't help it if my mind is so fast....

Democratus | | Permalink

OK - I can't help it if my mind is so fast....that i can't keep up with my fingers.

Duly chastened I shall edit and fix.

On second thoughts I won't - after all it does no harm to let you know that even I am only human.

johnjenkins's picture

@OGA

johnjenkins | | Permalink

How about shortning two words, eg. telephone conversation to telecon?

I was watching the Queens visit to Australia and the difference in the way her speech was when she first went there was really marked.

I suppose the main distinction with communication is class. Now class is eroding somewhat communication will change.  shtr.

ShirleyM's picture

A little bit off topic

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Do you think local dialects are dying out?

I can remember when I was 'nowt but a kid' and virtually everyone talked really broad Yorkshire, including myself, but I don't anymore!

I think radio, TV, people going off to University, the people we work with, and lots more things, are diluting the accents.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

John ....

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

.... Chillax!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Shirley ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

I read somewhere that this is not the case, and I think it also said the further from home the stronger the accent gets!

My pet theory is that accents change subtley as you go round the country, so a Londoner just thinks "Yorkshire " accent, but someone from Yorkshire thinks Leeds, Barnsley, Sheffield, York etc.

Similarly, at Chelsea we were always being insulted as cockney's, which is just not so, the accents are sooooo different.

To my ear the accent softens from Newcastle as you come south and gradually the vowels change, so Newcastle Toon becomes Barnsley Tarn and then to Birmingham Town down to London Tahn (unless your a nob, when it's Tine)

Contrary to the first paragraph, when I visit the regions I tend to start mimicking the accent and the words (they really do say " I didnae ken what you meant" in Aberdeen!). I worry this may offend as it may appear I am taking the Mick, but it is involuntary and I think a way of blending in.

Shirley may like this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/voices2005/glossary/barrie_rhodes.shtml#poem

 

 

 I think we now live in a

SamNcube | | Permalink

 I think we now live in a society that is accepting of inaccuracies and technical language incorrectness (like my sentence). I make reference to contractions in language, like the dropping of words for example, "You alright?" Rather than, "Are you alright?" Even though I hate that phrase anyway!

Added to my list is gangster lingo (this is not a language!) and short text type!

The correct letter is Aitch and not Haitch by the way.

Why must we be so accepting of such folly? I am 24 and am proud to portray the fact that I am educated. I did not spend all that time at school, college, and university to be perceived as uneducated. 

Old Greying Accountant's picture

I blame Michael Barrymore!

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

SamNcube wrote:

 I think we now live in a society that is accepting of inaccuracies and technical language incorrectness (like my sentence). I make reference to contractions in language, like the dropping of words for example, "You alright?" Rather than, "Are you alright?" Even though I hate that phrase anyway!

In London it is even shorter, typical greeting - "Alwight?"

ShirleyM's picture

Thanks OGA :)

ShirleyM | | Permalink

You brought back some happy memories for me with that link.

A lot of the words in the article are still in regular use, but a lot have been lost, too, but I am still proud to be a Yorkshire lass :)

 

johnjenkins's picture

What about

johnjenkins | | Permalink

the tip of a hat and a grunt mornin, artnoon.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

The trouble is ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... people used to know when to talk proper, like what I do, and when to talk dialect, now the boundaries are blurred!

johnjenkins's picture

You got a bottle of

johnjenkins | | Permalink

summat in the bottom draw?

Democratus's picture

Glottal Stop

Democratus | | Permalink

The way things are going we will soon need a new letter of the alphabet in English to show a glottal stop.

 

You go* a bo**le of summa* in the bo**om draw - John?

As long as you know what    1 thanks

sarah douglas | | Permalink

As long as you know what someone is saying or writing .  Then I have to say I don,t care .  Whats so wrong with chill lax .  I have worn an hearing aid all my life and it really ..........me off when someone corrects your pronunciation.  

My boy says " no I am good if anyone asks him if he wants something for example . Or if something is cool it say thats sweet.

It drives my mum mad, but I think it more interesting then YES or NO or cool.

I am on lot of committees to raise money and there is always one person , who appoints themselves as the role of the spelling police or grammar police.

Instead of just getting on with doing things .  you end up wasting 15 mins while they spout off.

I am having a rant here but I wish they would disappear as they drain your will to live sometimes when you are just trying to get on with things.  What would me more useful  ,if they agreed to do the notes, or letter writing in the first place as they would be good at it and appreciated.

I know my spelling and grammar is terrible but it is not the end of the world. I do admire people who write well like my sister. It is a skill .

I love Graham Norton so who cares what way he pronounces H he is funny. 

 

 

 

 

ShirleyM's picture

I can see your point Sarah

ShirleyM | | Permalink

We adapt to our surroundings, and our circumstances.

I suppose (as accountants) we also speak to our clients in a way that makes them feel comfortable, and the Queens English would not make my clients feel comfortable, and they may think they were in a 'posh' accountants and I was charging them too much ;)

I think clients come to us because of our friendly nature, but also we have that Yorkshire trait of being down to earth, and we 'tell it as it is', and although I do try not to be dictatorial I can be quite bossy at times.

johnjenkins's picture

@Democratus

johnjenkins | | Permalink

how about some hieroglyphics hic hic. We could make our own pronounciation to them. I always though a glottal stop was an oblong not a *.

We all have our little things

SamNcube | | Permalink

We all have our little things to moan about whether it be diction, grammer, spelling, vocabulary or even weather. Either way, the world still works and business continues regardless of whether we say 'Aitch' or 'Haitch'!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

It cuts both ways

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

As I said higher up, if a group of Yorkshire lasses are cackling away in dialect at their coven meeting, who cares, but if you are in a meeting with lots of people from all over, trying to use standard words and pronounciation makes communication easier - so you can concentrate on thinking about the matter being discussed rather than trying to wok out what the hell they just said!

I have a good ear for dialect and accent, I find it has a rhythm and tempo and once you tune in it is easy, but sometimes a combination of speed, accent and colloquialisms  can make what people say seem gobbledegook. What really amazes me though is if you don't catch what someone says and you ask them to repeat it, they deliver it in an identical fashion, why? If I have that situation I will try to speak more slowly and more clearly!

I have problems in Aberdeen, although the accent is soft, because they use different colloquialisms and talk vey fast, if I have my head down working it is not easy to realise someone has just asked you something!

But, all in all I love accents, dialects colloquialisms etc, they enrich and colour life greatly, but do not like laziness or ignorance. It is not usually the speakers fault though, but the educators, yes it is a skill, but a skill we should all have.

I'll finish with a major bugbear - the word is specific, the Pacific is an ocean!

ShirleyM's picture

It does cut both ways OGA

ShirleyM | | Permalink

I have to talk in a different way when I am dealing with foreign workers, or the occasional Scottish or Irish client. I try to speak clearly, and without the Yorkshire dialect, but we still struggle to understand one another at times ;)

EDIT: us lot int' cuv'n know wot weer on abart!

johnjenkins's picture

eeeeeeee by guum lass    1 thanks

johnjenkins | | Permalink

My wife comes from Bolton. By and large I can understand but when she gets back up north I have difficulty. My grandson (18) told me I was sick. I was quite proud because I thought he actually understood my sick humour. Then of course I found out that sick amongst some youngsters means cool so he didn't understand what I had said, he was just placating me.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Aye, Shirley

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

as long as theur dooant nip on up ont' moor wiyaa' eur t'at .   

 

 

 

ShirleyM's picture

Edited previous comment

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Tut tut

My Yorkshire is slipping and I made a booboo!

I love the moors ... but I always remember to take my hat :)

Old Greying Accountant's picture

When you say foreign ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... I take it you are using the general meaning - anyone who's not from Yorkshire - LOL 

ShirleyM's picture

Of course ;)

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

as long as theur dooant nip on up ont' moor wiyaa' eur t'at .   

 

When you say foreign, I take it you are using the general meaning - anyone who's not from Yorkshire - LOL

 

 

 

Naturally :)

Democratus's picture

Ok time for a sing song - after you Shirley

Democratus | | Permalink

On Ilkley Moor Bar T'at

Where hast thou been since I saw thee, I saw thee
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
Where hast thou been since I saw
Where hast thou been since I saw
Where hast thou been since I saw thee
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

I've been a courting Mary Jane, Mary Jane
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
I've been a courting Mary
I've been a courting Mary
I've been a courting Mary Jane
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

Then thou will catch thy death of cold, death of cold
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
Then thou will catch thy death of
Then thou will catch thy death of
Then thou will catch thy death of cold
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

Then we shall have to bury thee, bury thee
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
Then we shall have to bury
Then we shall have to bury
Then we shall have to bury thee
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

Then worms will come and eat thee up, eat theep up
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
Then worms will come and eat thee
Then worms will come and eat thee
Then worms will come and eat thee up
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

Then ducks'll come and eat up worms, eat up worms
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
Then ducks'll come and eat up
Then ducks'll come and eat up
Then ducks'll come and eat up worms
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

Then we shall come and eat up ducks, eat up ducks
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
Then we shall come and eat up
Then we shall come and eat up
Then we shall come and eat up ducks
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

So we shall have eaten thee, eaten thee
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at
So we shall have eaten
So we shall have eaten
So we shall have eaten thee
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at, on Ilkley Moor bar t'at
On Ilkley Moor bar t'at

Hi 

sarah douglas | | Permalink

Hi 

 

Accents are funny . We all have an accent .  It is  funny how some people think their accent is more understandable then others.  Everyone's is different so you just have to adjust. 

Been Irish and living in Scotland I find some English accents really slow and I have to concentrate on long it takes them to finish a sentence or story.  Their English may be clear but as a comedian says it is how ye tell them .

 

ShirleyM's picture

@Sarah

ShirleyM | | Permalink

We once stayed at Stranraer on our way up to a dog show in Scotland, intending just to stay the night, but we stayed a couple of extra days because the people there were so friendly and entertaining (a mix of Irish & Scottish).

Come to think of it, because of our dog showing, we stayed in lots of places where you wouldn't normally visit, and enjoyed them all :)

EDIT: Thanks OGA for reminding me of the Yorkshire national anthem :)

At one time we used to visit the Cow and Calf (pub) every week ... but it was in view of the real Cow and Calf rocks of Ilkley Moor!

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