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Pedants' corner

Don't always understand the rage - AITCH v HAITCH is just an illustration

15 replies

DadDadDad · 30/10/2014 17:03

OK, I get that the letter H should be pronounced AITCH not HAITCH (although there might be some regional variation in usage). But who gets so worked up about it that they write letters to national newspapers? (link below)

And then you get comments underneath on the paper's website like this:
Stop,stop,stop! Aaaargh! I can't believe we're having this conversation. It's "aitch" for God's sake, and take the pi** out of anyone who says "haitch" until they learn to say it correctly, it's your duty

I worry about these people's blood pressure. Can they really not contain themselves just because someone says "HAITCH" in their hearing?

I'm conscious that some of you do come on here to rage about small things like this. But is it something you do in real life when most of the time (spoken English, ephemeral written communication) it doesn't really matter?

Please note this thread is intended more to discuss why these things get people so irate, rather than debate how H is pronounced.

OP posts:
lougle · 30/10/2014 17:05

It's definitely 'aitch', surely? Haitch just sounds wrong really, doesn't it? Don't you think?

I really think that if someone is saying 'haitch' they are getting caught up in the wrong thing.

BlueberryWafer · 30/10/2014 17:10

Haitch here Smile

I think people who get wound up about these things are actually very lucky people if they have time and head space to worry about such menial things.

MrsSquirrel · 30/10/2014 17:19

I always think it says something about the person's insecurities.

My mil gets wound up about this kind of thing. She was an actress in the 1940s and 50s. In order to get work, she had to lose her Hampshire countryside accent and go rp. I reckon there must be some part of her that is still uncomfortable with this.

turdfairynomore · 30/10/2014 17:25

Can't comment!! I'm from NI!!! Any remark I make would be deemed to be political!!!!!!!

DadDadDad · 30/10/2014 17:51

lougle, Blueberry:
I did say this thread is not really about debating whether AITCH is correct. In most parts of the world that seems to be accepted. I'm more interested in why it matters so much to some people.

Interesting point. If you've had a good education and so know what it is right, it can feel like a threat to see those who break a rule out of ignorance, and there's a temptation to show superiority. (I've probably been guilty of that in the past, but have learnt to mellow).

turd - I did acknowledge that there might be regional differences. Is aitch / haitch a sectarian marker in NI, like Derry / Londonderry?

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BlueberryWafer · 30/10/2014 18:04

The first tiny bit of my post said which I say, I didn't say why, I didn't say the other way was wrong. Then I went on to answer your question about people getting wound up about small matters. Yet somehow you seem to think that warranted a rude reply. Some people!

Catsarebastards · 30/10/2014 18:08

Can't comment!! I'm from NI!!! Any remark I make would be deemed to be political!!!!!!!

Yup same! Grin

Basically when i grew up protestants said aitch and catholics said haitch and nobody dared correct the other Grin

DadDadDad · 30/10/2014 18:14

Oops, sorry if that came across as rude. I was actually trying to be light-hearted - the idea that (on a thread about not understanding why some people get angry about such little things) I was getting angry about a little thing! Grin

Attempting humour with strangers on a forum is always a risk and again I apologise for missing the mark, because I'm not setting out to be antagonistic. I guess my comment was more appropriate to lougle than to you.

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gastrognome · 30/10/2014 18:17

Where I grew up in Scotland it was "Itch". Followed not long after by the letter "Jai" (rhymes with my).

BlueberryWafer · 30/10/2014 18:20

Ah no worries DadDad, I have a slight sense of humour failure today - worried about 20 week scan tomorrow so sorry for biting your head off!

merlehaggard · 30/10/2014 18:27

I can't help it but it does matter to me. Also my friends laugh at me cos grammar matters to me. I think lack of such basic knowledge shows ignorance and wonder where these people were when their English teachers were teaching. I know really, in the scale of things, it doesn't matter and with other things would be the first person to say that people can't have any real problems to deal with if they can be bothered with xyz.

BlueberryWafer · 30/10/2014 18:29

I actually take back my initial comment that they can't have any real problems if they worry about such menial things, perhaps those things are a welcome distraction!

I am really anal about grammar (though you wouldn't think it from some of my posts on here, my phone likes to play tricks on me!) I just wouldn't write in to a newspaper raging about it Grin

DadDadDad · 30/10/2014 18:40

No problem, Blueberry. As I say, humour can be tricky when you don't know if the other person and they can't see non-verbal clues.

I hope your scan goes well. I appreciate it can be an anxious time.

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ArsenicChaseScream · 30/10/2014 18:48

If you've had a good education and so know what it is right, it can feel like a threat to see those who break a rule

Interesting. How so?

I think the recent ballyhoo has been about BBC presenters. So the debate is quite specific to whether they should be speaking 'correctly' or not.

DadDadDad · 30/10/2014 21:48

Aresenic - this was me trying to expand a bit on MrsSquirrel's point so it's just a possible theory. I considered putting "know" in quotes, ie describing someone who thinks they know what is right and learnt that is the path to success (like MrsSquirrel's mother up-thread). So they see others managing to live their lives even though they appear ignorant, and need to find a way to justify themselves?

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