Letter H

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Doggerel: Honeycomb harmony helps heal hormonal havoc

Media and materials: Hammer, Hammerite, honey, hair, HP, H pencil, hosho, honeycomb, hot-pressed, hog brush, hand, holly, honesty, honeysuckle, hook, horn, hue, hard light

Style: Hard, hazy, hasty, harmonious, havoc, horizontal, harlequin

Initial ideas

Detail sketches

New ideas from media plat

Developing the idea

Final image




Adobe Illustrator Typefaces

Development of the Letterform

Edited and extended from: Letter H Wikipedia

H (named aitch /ˈ/ or haitch /ˈh/ plural aitches or haitches) is the eighth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet. In English, h occurs as a single-letter grapheme (being either silent or representing /h/) and in various digraphs, such as ch //, /ʃ/, /k/, or /x/), gh (silent, /ɡ/, /k/, /p/, or /f/), ph (/f/), rh (/r/), sh (/ʃ/), th (/θ/ or /ð/), wh(/hw/[8]). The letter is silent in a syllable rime, as in ah, ohm, dahlia, cheetah, pooh-poohed, as well as in certain other words (mostly of French origin) such as hour, honest, herb (in American but not British English) and vehicle. Initial /h/ is often not pronounced in the weak form of some function words including had, has, have, he, her, him, his, and in some varieties of English (including most regional dialects of England and Wales) it is often omitted in all words (see ‘h‘-dropping). It was formerly common for an rather than a to be used as the indefinite article before a word beginning with /h/ in an unstressed syllable, as in “an hat”, but use of a is now more usual.


Egyptian hieroglyph
Old Semitic
H |
Proto-semiticH-01.svgx30pxg PhoenicianH-01.svgGreek Eta 2-bars.svg
Greek Eta square-2-bars.svgGreek Eta diagonal.svg
PhoenicianH-01.svg Greek uncial Eta.svg

The original Semitic letter Heth most likely represented the voiceless pharyngeal fricative (ħ). The form of the letter probably stood for a fence or posts.

The Greek eta ‘Η’ in Archaic Greek alphabets still represented /h/ (later on it came to represent a long vowel, /ɛː/). In this context the letter eta is also known as heta to underline this fact. Thus, in the Old Italic alphabets the letter heta of the Euboean alphabet was adopted with its original sound value /h/.

Etruscan and Latin had /h/ as a phoneme but almost all Romance languages lost the sound—Romanian later re-borrowed the /h/ phoneme from its neighbouring Slavic languages, and Spanish developed a secondary /h/ from /f/, before losing it again; various Spanish dialects have developed [h] as allophone of /s/ or /x/ in most Spanish-speaking countries, and various dialects of Portuguese use it as an allophone of /ʀ/. ‘H’ is also used in many spelling systems in digraphs and trigraphs, such as ‘ch’ which represents /tʃ/ in Spanish, Galician, Old Portuguese and English, /ʃ/ in French and modern Portuguese, /k/ in Italian, French and English, /x/ in German, Czech language,Polish, Slovak, one native word of English and a few loanwords into English, and /ç/ in German.

  • Semitic letter Heth, from which the following symbols derive
  • Η η : Greek letter Eta, from which the following symbols derive
    •  : Old Italic H, the ancestor of modern Latin H
      • ᚺ, ᚻ : Runic letter haglaz, which is probably a descendant of Old Italic H
      • Һ һ : Cyrillic letter Shha, which derives from Latin H
    •  : Gothic letter haal


Other systems[edit]

As a phonetic symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), it is used mainly for the so-called aspirations (fricative or thrills), and variations of the plain letter are used to represent two sounds: the lowercase form hrepresents the voiceless glottal fricative, and the small capital form ʜ represents the voiceless epiglottal fricative (or thrill). With a bar, minuscule ħ is used for a voiceless pharyngeal fricative. Specifical to the IPA, a hooked ɦis used for a voiced glottal fricative, and a superscript ʰ is used to represent aspiration.

Related characters

Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet

Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations

Other representations

NATO phonetic Morse code
Hotel ····
ICS Hotel.svg Semaphore Hotel.svg ⠓
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

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