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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A hypothesis or An hypothesis? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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landmark
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Discuss.
Woland
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An. No need to discuss any further.
mastermindreader
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"A hypothesis" is correct in American English because "h" is not a vowel.

Do you say "an hospital?"
Woland
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No, but I do say "an historian." But I say "a history." I say "an hyperbole." But I say "a hierarchy." Often though I try to rephrase the use of a word beginning with "H" so that I can use a definite article. Let's keep in mind that, as the Wikipedia reports, "In Northern Ireland it is a shibboleth as Protestant schools teach aitch and Catholics haitch." And, "The perceived name of the letter affects the choice of indefinite article before initialisms beginning with H: for example "an HTML page" or "a HTML page". The pronunciation /ˈheɪtʃ/ may be a hypercorrection formed by analogy with the names of the other letters of the alphabet, most of which include the sound they represent."
tommy
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It depends on how it's pronounced.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
mastermindreader
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Correct, but the common American usage is "a hypothesis." Although "an" is also acceptable before a word beginning with "h" provided the first syllable is unaccented.

Thus- "a history," but "an historian" or "a historian." (Both of the latter forms are correct.)
Magnus Eisengrim
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Hit 'im wif an 'ammer.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Woland
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What about the addition of an haitch, rather than its omission? Something like the Mighty Sparrow's song lyric, about the man, "him had a matchet in he hand."
Mary Mowder
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An. It has to do with the sound h makes more than its being a consonant.

Give it 6 months to a year and all bets will be off grammatically speaking. You can't stand against the tide and someone made up the rules in the first place.

"There's Glory for you." Humpty Dumpty

"After Me, The Deluge" Louis XV

-Mary Mowder
mastermindreader
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Yes, it has to do with the sound it makes. In American English most people aspirate the "h" sound, as in "house." Not "ouse." But we say "a house," not "an house." (But we do say "an outhouse!) Smile
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2013-05-07 22:04, mastermindreader wrote:
"A hypothesis" is correct in American English because "h" is not a vowel.

An hypothesis, because the accent (in "hypothesis") is on the second syllable.

Quote:
On 2013-05-07 22:04, mastermindreader wrote:
Do you say "an hospital?"

No, because the accent (in "hospital") is not on the second syllable.

Similarly for house ("a house", not "an house").
Bob1Dog
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Quote:
On 2013-05-07 23:27, mastermindreader wrote:
But we say "a house," not "an house." (But we do say "an outhouse!) Smile

Yup, and I know a few folks who might call it an out 'ouse.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
Bob1Dog
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Not to derail this thread, and perhaps discussion for a new thread, but I've always been fascinated with the way Aussies pronounce words like thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, eighteen and nineteen. As in thur-deen, for-deen, fi-deen, aye-deen and and nyn-deen, with the "d" prouounced very, very softly. I find it a charming, relaxed accent.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
stoneunhinged
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Grammar and pronunciation are different beasts. The confusion arises because the "H" is so often unpronounced in rapid speech. Rarely do English speakers pronounce the "H" in "his" or "him" or "her". What is happening is that the aspiration is elided in favor of phonetic efficiency. Such elision is not limited to weak-form words such as personal pronouns, but content words like, "hermaphrodite".

Let us generalize: if a speaker elides the aspiration, then the speaker is likely to say "an". If not, "a".

In writing, we should assume aspiration.

Case closed.
Bob1Dog
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Quote:
On 2013-05-08 01:38, stoneunhinged wrote:
In writing, we should assume aspiration.

Case closed.

I completely agree if we are intent in writing correctly for grammar and usage. It's the storyteller who has the license to write in the manner in which he/she chooses, grammar and pronunciation be dammed.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
Pop Haydn
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Where I grew up, storytellers talked ever which way.
Woland
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I think writing should follow speech. Thus an MRI scan.
stoneunhinged
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But Woland, my point (which I probably made badly) is that speech differs according to circumstances in a way that writing should not.

Would you eliminate the "H" in words like "him" and "her" in writing, just because they aren't pronounced?

"Give him the keys to the car" = "Givm thkeys tthcar". The "H" disappears, and so do the vowels in "the" and "to".

Surely we don't want to stop using vowels when writing?
Woland
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Hi Stone,

Welcome back to your forum! I've missed your comments lately. I don't think that we should each develop a personal and varying orthography to represent the spoken word as we hear it all the time. I agree that we have a standard written language. The problem with aitch and haitch is a very particular one, in which there are significant regional variations. Eventually, I'd wager, the South Indian pronunciation and usage will carry the day. If I only knew what it was.
Russell Davidson
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Quote:
On 2013-05-07 22:04, mastermindreader wrote:
"A hypothesis" is correct in American English because "h" is not a vowel.

Do you say "an hospital?"


It's also correct Queen's English.
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