People today are mad at many things. Maniac drivers, spaghetti sauce on a necktie, a shopping cart that doesn’t role straight…anger is a good thing if used constructively, focused on the source and devoted to removing the cause. I was looking at my Facepage the other day and noticed that a friend of mine had mentioned something about school in his status update, but he had left out the ‘h’ in school and had spelled it scool. This got me thinking. Do we really need the letter ‘h’ in our alphabet? It quite literally takes the cool out of school. Let’s throw the letter ‘h’ out of the alphabet.
The more I think about the letter ‘h’, the more steamed I’m getting. It’s such a superfluous letter. I did a quick search online and discovered that the English language contains about 600,000 words. I followed that search up with another search, asking Prof. Google to tell me how many words in the English language contain the letter ‘h’. The question turned Prof. G’s brain to spaghetti so I asked Prof. Crosby the same question. Crosby thought I wanted to play a puzzle game.
I said no thanks. Left with no answers I was forced to guess. I’m thinking out of the 600,000 words MAYBE there are 800 that contain the letter h (prove me wrong). Of those 800 words, we find a myriad of words like ‘school’, ‘whale’, ‘spaghetti’, ‘chlorine’ and ‘eschatology‘; words that don’t need that darn ‘h’ in there.
Think about it…how many times has the letter ‘h’ just thrown you off in terms of spelling something? Case in point is the word ‘school’. What the H is the letter ‘h’ doing in there anyway? wouldn’t it sound the same if the ‘h’ wasn’t in there? Okay get ready to freak out. Look what happens when I remove the ‘h’ from the word whale. The word whale becomes a word that sounds exactly the same: wale. Angry yet? Yeah, me too (I just picked something up and threw it across the room.). The same goes for the words scientists use to ponder things…the five inquisitives: who, what, where, when and how. Wo, wat, were, wen, and ow would work just as well I would think. Some of the words wouldn’t sound the same after the change but people would catch on soon enough.
The nae-sayer would retort, “What about the words that begin with the letter h?”. Okay, let’s take a look at those. ‘History’ would become istory. Not too hard to figure out. ‘Helium’ goes to elium…still no problem. If you told me, “Stop, Ammer time!” I’d know what you were talking about. In fact most of the words coming to my mind I see doing quite fine without the letter ‘h’. Some words like ‘hair’ becoming ‘air’ at first pose a slight problem but in those instances you just have to work off of context much like any other homonym (i.e. bear, left). Checkmate nae-sayer.
I know what your thinking, “What about the digraphs, ch, sh, th, ph, gh and rh sounds…we just can’t get rid of those.” Okay, first of all let’s take a look at ph. I say we force words with that ‘ph’ to man up and switch all of those to ‘f’. That’s right “atmosphere” I’m talkin’ to you…quit clowning and become atmosfere. Simple. Moving on to ‘gh’. Do I really have to go there? Yes. Okay, ‘gh’ is pointless and just becomes ‘g’. ‘Ghost’ becomes ‘gost’ and if the ‘gh’ in a word is just pretending to be an ‘f’ let’s make it BE an ‘f’. ‘Cough’, you get to be ‘couf’. “Paragraph” becomes ‘paragraf’ and people like it. ‘Rh’. ‘Rh’, are you kidding me? See figure 1. Let’s skip to the real problems: ch, sh, and th. I propose a simple solution…we add a diacritical mark to the english language to denote these unique sounds. The new diacritic could even look like an ‘h’…maybe an ‘h’ on it’s side. With the new diacritic in place we can keep the sounds and throw out the ridiculous letter h (see figure 2).
At this point I’m guessing there are a few of you out there that might be writing me off as a loon (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Harold MachFrahmhursht.), and maybe I am. So, at this point you have a choice. You can either dismiss me and go about your h filled hectic, hell hole, horrible, hanus, hhh…hhh…hhhairball in your throat life, or you can turn around and say, “Ell no!”.
“But Chris, removing the ‘h’ from the English language would just be too much work.” To that I say, “This may just be the job creating, stimulus package our country needs.” I don’t know about your state, but the state I live in now has an unemployment rate above 9%. Books would have to be re-edited, keyboards would have to be redesigned, street signs would have to be reworked. Pretty much anything that has to do with the English language would have to be reworked. Think of all the new jobs this would create. Sure it’s a little daunting; but so was building the Golden Gate Bridge, putting a man on the moon, and converting to the metric system. We can do this!
Anger is a good thing if used constructively, focused on the source and devoted to removing the cause. I say we remove the letter ‘h’ from the alfabet. It’s been around for centuries. It ad a good run, but this is the 21st century. The time for superfluous time and energy wasting letters is so yesterday. Let’s step boldly into the future and say, “The letter ‘h’ is old, tired and needs to be done away with and we’re not taking this sitting down anymore…in fact we’re not taking this anymore period.” Let’s make this dream we’ve ad since grade scool become a reality. Just imagine, our children growing up in a world where they don’t ave to worry about the confusion the letter ‘h’ brings to the English language. Write your congressman. Let’s put the cool back in school.