Specialties with nouns that start with a vowel or a mute h

As we already mentioned before there is also the aspiriertes h, which still is mute but the reduction of the article does not happen with these words.
When you now wonder why it is called aspirated, when it is still mute - the reason lies in history. Once upon a time they were pronounced like the normal h, because these words were imported from other languages - Franconian, Latin and English. The h lost the pronuncation and is now treated differently than their original French colleagues.

  Examples for words with aspirated h
le hobby (masculine) hobby
  le homard (masculine) lobster
  le hasard (masculine) coincidence
  la hache (feminine) axe
  la hâte (feminine) hurry

When wondering how to know, whether an h is aspirated or not, you can always check the dictionary. There the aspirated h is marked with an apostrophe.

'hagard = haggard
'Hanovre = Hanover
'handicap = handicap

Another example with a complete sentence:

  mute h
Tous les hommes sont mortels. All humans are mortal.
  Les hiboux peuvent voler. Owls can fly.

You can see that there is indeed one difference in the use of the definite article, in English no article is used after words like all, no or every. In French all (tous) is used with the definite article. However, these slight differences are easy to remember with time. Just do not worry about details like this one. We will repeat in the following chapters.

contact privacy statement imprint