Ĥ

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Ĥ, or ĥ is a consonant in Esperanto orthography, representing a voiceless velar fricative [x] or voiceless uvular fricative [χ]. Its name in Esperanto is ĥo (pronounced /xo/).

It is also used in the revised Demers/Blanchet/St Onge orthography for Chinook Jargon.[1]

In the case of the minuscule, some fonts place the circumflex centred above the entire base letter h, others over the riser of the letter, and others over the shoulder.

H-circumflex.png
ĥ in the fonts Code2000, Sylfaen, Pragmatika Esperanto

Ĥ is the eleventh letter of the Esperanto alphabet. Although it is written as hx in the x-system and hh in the h-system, it is H with a circumflex (ĥ) when written accented. L. L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, recommended using hh when ĥ is not available.

Reported demise[edit]

Ĥ was always the least used Esperanto letter/sound (though it usually has more dictionary entries than ĵ), and most of its uses are in Greek etyms, where it replaced chi. Since the latter sounds [k] in most languages, soon appeared “neologism” equivalents with "ĥ" replaced by "k", such as teĥnikotekniko, ĥemiokemio, etc. (Other ĥ-replacements followed unusual patterns, such as ĤinoĈino.)

These additions and replacements come very early and were fully installed by World War I and since then the imminent demise of ĥ is a frequent topic, although it has never really happened. There are very few modern ĥ-replacements, notably koruso, for ĥoro ("chorus"). Some ĥ-words for which a replacement (old or new) exists are however usually preferred, such as ĥaoso.

Several words commonly use ĥ, particularly those of non-Greek etymology (ĥano, ĥoto, Liĥtenŝtejno, etc.) or those in which there is another word that uses "k" in that context. (For example, eĥo ("echo"), ĉeĥo ("Czech") or ĥoro ("chorus") are distinguished from eko ("beginning"), ĉeko ("bank check") and koro ("heart") - and horo ("hour").

Other uses[edit]

An Italian italo disco singer from the 80s had the ĥ in his stage name "Cĥato".[1]

In quantum mechanics, Ĥ is sometimes used to represent the Hamiltonian operator, especially in the Wheeler–DeWitt equation.

See also[edit]

  1. ^ Lang, George (2009). Making Wawa: The Genesis of Chinook Jargon. UBC Press. p. 216. ISBN 978-0774815277.