Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"H" is for *SILENCE*


The Letter "H" in the Spanish Speaking World

 

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
 I'm a Spanish teacher so a thought that kept coming to me while I was trying to come up with a topic for the letter "H" was that in my Spanish classes I always have to explain to Spanish beginners that "H" in Spanish doesn't make a sound.

Because of this small distraction I couldn't think up a topic I wanted to write about that began with the letter "H" so instead I decided to write about the letter itself in a Spanish speaking context.

So you get a cultural and language post in one! Yay!

So while "H" doesn't make a sound in Spanish words there are a few exceptions when it does. So we will get those out of the way first. When "H" is paired up with "C" it creates the letter "Ch" [che] and this does make a sound (like in the English word cheese). And for foreign words and names "H" will produce a sound (hamster, Hollywood, Harry etc.) Otherwise, no sound.

Hola vs Ola

Whether you know Spanish or not, most people can at least say "hello". "Hola!" is one of the first words you learn in Spanish and it is one where you learn immediately that "H" is silent. What most beginners don't know is that without the "H", the word "Ola" is a different word entirely. It means wave. As in sound wave or the waves of the ocean. 

In the written word, while some words are simply wrong with the "H" left out, like hormiga(ant), alcohol(alcohol), and Honduras, there are others whose meaning chages like with hola and ola. So when writting you have to be sure you are using the right letters to get your meaning across correctly.

In Mexico at least, if Spanish is your native tongue, and you make mistakes with your spelling you will either be made fun of or looked down on. It is a sign of how good or bad your education has been and how seriously future employers or peers can take you. But then this is something that is true in all languages. 

Do you know a second language? Or would you like to learn one? Which one? And what is the biggest difference between that one and your own?


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16 comments:

  1. I'm French and the H works more or less the same in French :)

    Hablo un poco español, he aprendido a la escuela pero he olvidado mucho!

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    1. Muy bien! Je parle un peut de francais mais I have also forgotten tout! =P

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    2. Haha - good work!

      It's so frustrating that Wordpress and Blogger don't talk to each other on comment updates - I don't get any notification when you reply. Boo! :(

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    3. I know! I love wordpress because it lets you know as soon as you get a reply. With blogger you have to check the notify box and then you get in your e-mail when anyone comments on the post, not just a reply. Oh well, thanks for checking back though. =)

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  2. I took Spanish for 4 years in high school (I tell stories in Spanish now too), and when I started taking Latin in college, my Latin teacher went nuts over my pronunciation... :D

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

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  3. I took the mandatory two semesters of Spanish in college and barely passed with C's :p I'm envious of everyone who can speak (and read and write) in more than one language!

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  4. Visiting from A/Z. I took one year of high school Spanish years ago, don't know much of the language, but I do remember this about the letter H. I don't know a second language, I should since I live in Southern California 10 minutes from the Mexican border and the predominant language spoken here seems to be Spanish. Might learn Spanish down the road.

    Good luck with the res tof the challenge!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for dropping by! I'll take a visit to your blog as well. (n_n)/

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  5. It happens in all languages, little idiosyncrasies that throw us for a loop. You can almost always tell who doesn't speak the native language. C'est la vie. It's still nice to be able to communicate with each other. Also, tried to follow your blog, but it looks like the google glitch might be acting up again.

    M. J.
    A - Z Co-Host
    http://mjjoachim.blogspot.com
    http://effectivelyhuman.blogspot.com
    http://lotsofcrochetstitches.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you so much for visiting! And I'm sorry about the member button not working, you are the second person who has told me about that and I think all I can do is wait until it's fixed? It's a bit frustrating that it decided to be glitchy now...

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  6. Very interesting! I'm fascinated by languages and wish I knew a lot of them fluently. :)

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Colin! I would also love to know as many languages as possible. That would be great.

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  7. Hi, popping in from A-Z :) My dad's Italian, but mum spoke English, so didn't learn anywhere near as much as I would have liked.
    Suzanne @Suzannes Tribe
    x

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. That happens sometimes you end up learning the language he hear the most better.

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  8. Thank you for sharing that lil tidbit Spanish :)

    Besides English, I know Malayalam ( mother tongue -South indian language). Also Arabic, Hindi and Kannada. Though not very fluent :)

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    1. Wow that's great. I read somewhere that the more languages you know the more you prevent dementia in old age. So you should be solid.

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