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A grumpy old rant about H

This is a letter from Bernadette Robinson in the paper edition of The Times today:-

‘Could somebody please tell me what has happened to the “H” in our alphabet?   For 60 years I have pronounced it “aitch”.   There is an “H” in my postcode and recently I have been corrected by various customer advisers: “You mean ‘haitch’?”  To make matters worse, today, on the BBC’s programme Cash in the Attic, the presenter referred to Haitch MS Vanguard.   Is this now the standard pronunciation?’

I’ve been meaning for ages to do a post about this.   Every time a TV voice comes out with that haitch, and more and more of them are doing it, I get so angry.   Is it perhaps that these people have been nagged not to drop their aitches, so they are carefully putting one on the word itself?   After all, the word is aitch;  it doesn’t even start with an H.

And another thing, an increasing number of people who are regarded as educated and holding down managerial jobs are pronouncing something and nothing as somethink and nothink.   Where do they get that K from?

L Gibson from Whitley Bay, also in The Times, raises the point again of why so many younger people now speak with a raised inflection at the end of sentences.   This, I’m sure, can be put firmly at the door of Australian soap operas which have for so long been bombarded daily at television audiences in this country.   This leads us to believe that down under every sentence ends with a question.

Finally, in this little diatribe, I thought I had heard it all tonight.   I was watching my favourite ITV3, (you know, all the lovely old dramas and cop shows), and this evening’s episode of The Dorothy L Sayers Mysteries was about to start.   The story was Have His Carcass, but the announcer said it was Have His Car-Case;  yes, pronounced as if it were a portmanteau for putting in a vehicle!

English, (not US English), is a beautiful language.   As Professor Higgins said at great length, “Why can’t the English learn to speak?”



For We Are the People of England, and We have not Spoken Yet.

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