As with the words we’ve studied which begin with the letter h in French, one has Germanic origins, one has Latin origins (via French), and one has a restored h that remained mute through the 18th century, and still is for many English speakers. But what happens when a word ending in a consonant is followed by a word beginning with h? The first rule is easy: the vowels a, i, o and y are always pronounced at the end of … In French, there are actually more combinations of vowel letters than there are sounds – different combinations of letters and placement in a world will determine a unique sound. In English, ⟨h⟩ occurs as a single-letter grapheme (being either silent or representing the voiceless glottal fricative (/h/) and in various digraphs, such as ⟨ch⟩ /tʃ/, /ʃ/, /k/, or /x/), ⟨gh⟩ (silent, /ɡ/, /k/, /p/, or /f/), ⟨ph⟩ (/f/), ⟨rh⟩ (/r/), ⟨sh⟩ (/ʃ/), ⟨th⟩ (/θ/ or /ð/), ⟨wh⟩ (/hw/ ). The tongue and lips remain tensed through the pronunciation of French vowels, and the sounds remain "pure," rather than diphthonging into y or w sounds, like English vowels tend to do. Initial /h/ is often no… However, there are two different kinds of H's: H muet and H aspiré. For example, le + homme contracts to l'homme — you can't say "le homme." For example, le + hockey does not contract to "l'hockey" but remains le hockey. Aside from memorizing which h’s are aspirated, and thus do not participate in liaison, we can remember that most words in French beginning with ha- have an “h aspiré” (“la hâte”, “le haut”, “les hamsters”) as do many words beginning with ho- (“la Hollande”, “le homard”, “les hoquets”), although it is important to be aware of frequently used words beginning with ho- that have an “h muet”, such as the examples of “l’hôtel” and “l’homme”, given above. It's as simple as immersing yourself in the language. The apostrophy is used because the H is not pronounced. When les is used in front of a word that starts with a vowel, most words starting with h, and the French word y, you DO pronounce the s on the end of les. This explanation is based on the closest sounds that exist in American English, which are not very close at all. Or do we look at the consonant h that is graphically present in the word and not make the liaison? How to Pronounce French Vowels Learn the pronunciation of French pure vowels . If you have a dictionary handy, there will be an asterisk [*] preceding words beginning with an aspirated h. A detailed dictionary will specify the origins of these words which, in the case of words beginning with an h muet, tend to have Greek and Latin origins, whereas words beginning with an h aspiré tend to have Germanic origins, or be borrowed from other languages. Nasal vowels are produced when air passes through the nose as well as the mouth. The more you listen and speak, the better and more fluent you will be. Although the sound written /h/ is a consonant, it doesn't appear anywhere in the word, so it's meaningless to ask whether h is a vowel or a consonant in it. Several vowel combinations are possible in French: two or three vowels together or a vowel and a consonant. In French, we use many combined letters. At the end of a word, A, I, O and Y are never silent letters in French. For nouns, the gender is provided (in parentheses):habile skillfulhabilité (f) fitnesshabiller to dresshabits (m) clotheshabiter to live inhabitude (f) habithacker (m) hackerHadès (m) Hadeshadj (m) hajjhadron (m) hadronhagard distraughtHaïti (m) Haitihaleine (f) breathHalloween (f) Halloweenhalluciner to hallucinatehalo- (prefix)harmonica (m) harmonicaharmonie (f) harmonyharpagon (m) skinflint, ScroogeHawaï (m) Hawaiihebdomadaire weeklyhébergement (m) lodginghéberger to househébéter to daze, stupefyhébreu (m) Hebrewhectare (m) hectarehectique hectichédonisme (m) hedonismhégémonie (f) hegemonyhélicoptère (m) helicopterhélium heliumhélix helixHelsinki Helsinkihématome (m) hematomahémisphère (m) hemispherehémophile hemophiliachémorragie (f) hemorrhagehémorroïde (f) hemorrhoidhépatite (f) hepatitisherbage (m) pastureherbe (f) grasshérédité (f) heredityhériter to inherithéroïne (f) heroin, heroineherpès (m) herpeshésiter to hesitatehétérosexuel heterosexuelheure (f) hourheureux happyhexagone (m) hexagonhiberner hibernatehibiscus (m) hibiscushier yesterdayhilare beamingHimalaya (m) the Himalayashindou Hinduhip-hop (m) hip-hophippodrome (m) racetrackhippopotame (m) hippopotamushirondelle (f) swallowhirsute hairy, shaggyhistoire (f) story, historyhiver (m) winterholo- (prefix)hologramme (m) hologramhoméopathie (f) homeopathyhomicide (m) homicidehommage (m) tributehomme (m) manhomo- (prefix)honnête honesthonneur (m) honorhonorer to honorhôpital (m) hospitalhoraire (m) schedule, timetablehorizon (m) horizonhorloge (f) clockhormone (f) hormonehoroscope (m) horoscopehorreur (f) horrorhorrible horriblehorrifier to horrifyhorticulture (f) horticulturehospitalité (f) hospitalityhostile hostilehôte (m) hosthuile (f) oilhuître (f) oysterhumain (m) humanhumble humblehumeur (f) moodhumide humidhyacinthe (f) hyacinthhybride (m) hybridhydr- (prefix)hydraulique hydraulichydrogène (m) hydrogenhygiène (f) hygienehyper- (prefix)hypo- (prefix)hystérie (f) hysteria, H's in French words borrowed from other languages are usually aspirate. But you have to be familiar with the behavior of h’s in different words. We can also contrast the denasalization that occurs with liaison when an “h muet” follows a nasal vowel with the nasalized vowel sounds that remain when these sounds are followed by words beginning with an “h aspiré”: h muet: Chris Pine est un homme qui joue le rôle de Steve Trevor dans le film Wonder Woman.