H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (2023)

Updated March 7, 2021 byMyleneempronunciation lessons

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (1)

Do you know the difference between muteHand the suctionHin French? How does the pronunciation differ when a word starts with mute?Hagainst an aspirateH? You can use this blog and itsVideoLearn the correct pronunciation of French words by letterH.

In this post you will learn:

  • Pronunciation of the letter H in French
  • The letter H fonts in French
  • The difference between aspirated H and still H
  • Pronunciation of the letter H (video)
  • Words with a silent H
  • Words with H aspirated
  • How do you know if the H is silent or aspirated?

How do you say the letter H in French?

to writeHIt is not pronounced in French. This letter is a consonant and makes no sound. Hence words beginning with the letterH, like honneur, hiver and here, are pronounced without the soundH.

There are exceptions, e.g. B. when writingHis combined with the letterCÖbook pageform aCH, as in chaud (pronounced /ʃo/) or a ph, as in foto (pronounced /foto/).

How many types of H are there?

There are 2 fontsH:

  1. muteH(or be silentH):Hmute english
  2. sucked offH:Haspire in english

the muteHis found in words that often come from Latin, aspirated at the same timeHis found in French words that have Germanic roots, the Franks, as explained inthis book.

Is there a difference between the aspirated H and the silent H?

In modern French both the aspirantHand the muteHmake no sound. You have no voice. The difference, however, is how each of them interacts and affects the words next to it.

In detail, we often refer to two main behaviors that are at the heart of the French language and French pronunciation. The first observed behavior isElisionand the second isshortcut.

IsElisionis if a word likeIs jÖ It's rented. For example,Is jÖ Contracts in the form ofOf. Isshortcutis when the last (muffled) consonant of a word is pronounced together with the initial vowel of the following word.

(Video) H Muet and H Aspiré — Everything You Need to Learn | French Pronunciation

What is an aspirated h in French?

an aspirateHis a French silent consonant that has the following two properties:

  • Missing link: for example, we say “les hanches” and not “les‿hanches” (les-z-hanches)
  • Missing Elision: For example, saying "le haricot" is correct, and saying "l'haricot" is incorrect

What is a silent h in French?

the muteHit is also a letter that is not pronounced in French. Unlike the aspirated onesHBinding and elision are necessary in French words that have a silence.H. For example l'horloge (distance is made) and leshabits (link must be pronounced). Again, these differences are mainly due to the origin of the words and the way the French language has evolved throughout history.

A video about the French letter h

Watch the video below to learn everything you need to know about the French pronunciation of the letter H.

In this video I explain the difference between mute in FrenchHand the suctionH.

You will learn the elision and connection rules for these two types ofHTexts that make no noise!

This video covers a lot of French words that start with aH. It includes common French words to ensure you fully understand the pronunciation.

More importantly, you will discover instances where the contraction and/or concatenation process is applied to French words beginning with the letterH.

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (2)

Be sure to watch the video to learn more about the pronunciation of the letter H (aspirate or be silent). To keep track of more updates,Subscribe to YouTube channeland follow meInstagram.

How do you pronounce words with a silent H?

As mentioned earlier in this article, the rule is simple. The letterHIt doesn't make a sound in French. However, what you need to keep in mind is linking and applying Elision.

Let's look at some French words that start with muteH.

Héroïne begins with a silent H

The French word "héroïne" refers to a heroine. It is a feminine noun and hence the definite article.ÖIt is used like any other feminine noun. However, the letterHin "heroine" she is muteH. As consequence,ÖbecomesOflike the articleÖis next to a mute buttonH.

Also, the plural form ofthe heroineis "les héroïnes" and in this case the correct pronunciation in French is "les‿héroïnes". When you pronounce “les‿héroïnes”, you have to make the sound/z/.

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (3)

A verb that begins with a silent H

Similar to the word "héroïne", "habiter" is a French verb meaning "to live". For example j'habite à Paris (I live in Paris). As already mentioned, the elision occurs in betweenesand the muteHin the verb "inhabit". When we conjugate the verb “habitar” in the plural, the connection has to be made. For example, "vous habitez" is the plural of this French verb and its correct pronunciation is "vous‿habitez". Here, too, the pronunciation includes the phonetic sound/z/.

The takeaway from this example is that omissions and conjunctions must occur when anh is silent, whether in a French noun or verb. Elision occurs with words likees,Ö,Isand the link requires pronunciation of the /z/ sound with the plural form of a noun or verb.

For more information on other cases where the sound /z/ is pronounced in French, see the following article:When does S sound like Z in French?

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (4)

Some French words that start with a silent h

What applies to the word "héroïnes" also applies to a large number of words that start with a silent word.H. Below is a list of 10+ French words that follow the same treatment as “héroïnes” in terms of elision and association.

French words with muteHwhere to apply elision and binding:

  • Man: Man, men
  • Hospital: the hospital, the hospitals
  • Winter: Winter, Winter
  • Hotel: the hotel, the hotels
  • Time: the time, the times
  • Time: the time, the hours
  • Hábitos: l'hábitos, les‿hábitos
  • Helicopter: the helicopter, the helicopters
  • History: the history, the stories
  • Oil: oil, oils
  • Oyster: the oyster, the oysters
  • Swallow: the swallow, the swallows

How do you pronounce words with a hint of an H?

the suctionHIt is also not pronounced in French. But the characteristic of the aspirated h is the absence of connection and elision. words likeIs,Ö,esremain as they are are not reducedOfÖJ'as in the case of the muteH.

Which might be confusing with the vacuumHit is his name. It's called aspirate, apiré in French, but there's no aspiration that happens when you say the aspirateHin French. the suctionHIt has a completely illogical name. The only thing to note is that "aspirated" doesn't represent aspiration, but rather the absence of sound.

Heros begins with an aspirated H

As we have already seen, "héroïne" begins with a silent voice.H. Interestingly, the masculine form of héroïne, héros, is a French word that begins with an aspiration.H. What does that mean?

This means that the elision is not through "le héros" and the linkage is not in the plural "les héros". It is incorrect to say l'héros and it is incorrect to pronounce /z/ when saying "les héros". There is no bond. Note that when linking, you are referring to the French number 0 (les zeros).

Another observation is that they suckHalways prevents a link between the last consonant of a word and the first vowel of the next word. This is the case with "les héros" and also in other cases of the word héros. For example, "nos héros" /noeʀo/ is the correct pronunciation.

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (5)

A verb beginning with an aspirated H

Now let's take an example with a verb that starts with aspire.H. The verb "hurler" means "to scream" in French and thatHin this word is an aspirateH. When you say "je hurle" (to yell), the pronounesdoes not rentJ'. Also, the plural form of hurler is "vous hurlez" (pronounced /vu.yrle/) and see the link for the correct pronunciation. don't make the sound/z/al decir "you scream" in English.

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (6)

Some French words that start with an aspirated h

There are many words that start with striveHin French. Below are 10+ French words along with their singular and plural forms. As you will see, when you pronounce these words in the plural, no elision occurs and you should not make a connection.

Words in the French dictionary that start with aspirateH:

  • Height: height, heights
  • Heron: the heron, the herons
  • Shame: shame, shame
  • Cover: the cover, the covers
  • Stable: the stable, the stables
  • do: make, do
  • Danger: the danger, the dangers
  • Axe: the axe, the axes
  • Hedge: the hedge, the hedges
  • Hedgehog: the hedgehog, hedgehog
  • Owl: the owl, the owls

How do I know if the H is silent or aspirated?

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether the letterHIt is aBe silentHor an aspirateH. There is no simple logic you can use or apply to guess if an h is sucked or muted. You need to learn this and build your French skills by gradually practicing and working on your listening skills.

The truth is that most French words start with the letterHand which derive from the Germanic language have an aspirateH. Most commonly, but not always, the aspirateHthey are French words borrowed from other languages.

A tip is that with few words it is clear that calling when no one is there actually sounds bad and therefore can change the intended meaning. For example, "les héros" versus "les zeros" (heroes versus zeros) or "les hauteurs" versus "les auteurs" (heights versus writers).

Another tip, in the dictionary, whenever you look up a word that begins withHYou will see an asterisk (*) in front of words that have an aspirationH.

One last interesting note is that you will find a vowel in every French word that begins withH.

main topics

silence H:


H suction:


If Elision is used:

It results in the contraction of

o + still h = o
o + still h = o
i + silence h = i

If the link is spoken:

Resulta na pronúncia do som /z/

H mute vs. H aspirate and French pronunciation - MasterYourFrench (7)

Improve your pronunciation

In this article, we'll cover the silent letter H (silent and aspirated) and when to use Bind and Elision.

The Master Your French blog covers a wide range of topics related to French pronunciation, listening, culture and much more.

If you liked the content of this article and video, you can also check out our article aboutsilent letters in french. Subscribe to the newsletter to not miss future blogs or offers.

No wonder French pronunciation is difficult. Keep learning with Master Your French by doing oursOnline French courses.

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