Communicate without /h/ Dropping and Intrusion

communicate without /h/ Dropping and Intrusion

The Essentials of Communication

Virtually everyone desires to communicate effectively. Did you know that there is more to communication than merely talking? Communication extends to adhering to standards of diction, among other factors. Therefore, an excessive distortion in a speaker’s articulation of words may be distracting and unappealing to listeners. Eventually, this may cause listeners to lose the speaker’s content, no matter how rich it is. So apparently, the how of communication is as important as the what. It’s not enough to know what to say; how you say it is quite vital. We’ll be discussing one of the how’s in this article on h dropping and intrusion. How do you communicate without h dropping and intrusion?

What is H-Dropping?

H-dropping is the deliberate or indeliberate removal of the initial /h/ sound, otherwise known as aitch in the pronunciation of a word. This may distort the meaning of the word. Imagine a speaker saying eye where they should say high.

In some parts of Britain in the late ’80s and early ’90s, a criterion for scholarliness was the ability to speak without dropping the initial /h/ sound in words. People of that time perceived speakers who dropped the initial /h/ as uncivilized and unlettered. Also, at some point, during the Victorian era, it was unladylike to be /h/ deficient. In sum, h-dropping was a sign of careless or uneducated speech during that era.

It isn`t so different now, as speakers who drop the initial /h/ are still considered to be deficient in language use. Do you hear yourself or others say harm as arm, heat as eat, hall as all? That deletion of the initial h sound is called h-dropping.

What is H-Intrusion?

In simple terms, h-intrusion is the reverse of h-dropping. H-intrusion, otherwise known as h-adding, connotes the pronunciation of the /h/sound at the initial stage of a word that begins with a vowel sound. Examples of h-intrusion are in the articulation of h-less words like egg, orange, or apple. When a speaker pronounces those words as hegg, horange, and happle respectively, we say that they have h-intrusion.

A Quick Communication Test

It is easier to hear others unnecessarily add and drop /h/, however, it may be difficult to hear oneself do the same. Speak of the proverbial speck in another`s eye! Here`s a quick test to help you hear how effectively you communicate.

Now, take a minute or two to do an audio recording of yourself pronouncing these pairs of words:

  • eye, high
  • eight, hate
  • ill, hill
  • all, hall
  • eat, heat

Now play the recording. Do you hear yourself make the exact sound for both words in each pair? Then you probably have an articulation disorder, and you need help. You either have h-intrusion, h-dropping, or both, depending on how you articulated the words.

People who have h-intrusion sound like:

“Hi have hate heggs,” instead of “I have eight eggs.”

People who have h-dropping sound like:

“I`m in the all,” instead of “I’m in the hall.”

Dealing with H-Dropping and H-Intrusion

These disorders cause a barrier in communication and can be disturbing to people who are sensitive to language use. People who suffer from these disorders may also find it embarrassing.

Sadly, many people who have this challenge don’t know they do because they don’t hear themselves articulate wrongly. It may not be easy to hear yourself intrude an h when unnecessary, or drop it when you shouldn’t.
This is why you should do an audio recording, instead of pronouncing and trying to hear yourself at the same time. You may also ask someone to listen to you articulate the pairs of words and give feedback.

Unfortunately, listeners would rather talk and laugh about it among themselves than try to help speakers with this disorder. Isn`t this a good time to realise this challenge and get it out of the way? We have an online language clinic where we can help you solve the problem of /h/ intrusion and dropping, among other speech challenges. Kindly send an email to, and we will assign an elocution trainer to help you communicate better.

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