Tuesday, September 14, 2010

an historical (pronouncing the h)

Here's a pet peeve of mine: people who say "an historic" and "an
historical" and pronounce the "h". I don't have a preference for "a
historic" or "an historic" but if you opt for the "an" shouldn't the
"h" be silent? BBC World and BBC 1-4 news presenters and talking heads
invariably pronounce the "h" when they
say "an historical," which they do nine times out of ten instead of "a
historical" (this is just my impression, possibly because I pay
attention to this irritating habit). And it's not just Brits. Here's
Justice Stephen Breyer pronouncing the "h" in "historical" after the
indefinite article "an" in an NPR interview: "People think we decide
things politically, or that the only way to protect against subjective
views of judges is to have something called originalism, which is as
if you could reach decisions by means of an historical computer. I
don't think any of those things are true."