“Inspector Smith! Inspector Smith!”
Grammar Smith looked around, but couldn’t quite see who was calling her name. She felt a tug on her jacket and looked down. There was a small boy with tousled hair and a quizzical look gazing up at her.
“Hello there. Who might you be?” Grammar asked.
“I’m Ellison, and I want to know what the ‘h’ is doing in ‘honor.’”
“What?” Grammar didn’t quite understand.
“Well, why is the ‘h’ there? It doesn’t make a sound. It isn’t doing anything,” Ellison declared. “It seems pretty suspicious to me.”
“That’s a really good question. In this case, the ‘h’ tagged along when the word migrated over from France and started living in English,” Grammar explained. “There are other foreign words we’ve adopted where the ‘h’ is in the picture, but doesn’t do any work – words like heir, hour, messiah, Hannah, ghetto, and ghost.
“In some words, like shepherd and exhaust, people got lazy and now just ignore the ‘h.’ But sometimes the ‘h’ doesn’t seem to be doing much, but it keeps people from getting words confused. Think of ‘hour’ for time and ‘our’ a way to show we own something. “
“Like ‘whit’ and ‘wit’?” Ellison asked.
Kid’s got quite the vocabulary! Grammar thought.
“Yes, Ellison, that’s right.”
“Are there other letters in words that you don’t hear from?”
“Yes, Ellison, lots and lots. Unfortunately, I have a meeting to get to. Detective Dis Connect over there can explain all that to you.”
Grammar pointed Ellison in Dis’s direction, gave him a slight push, and watched as the boy eagerly toddled over.
I am so evil! Grammar thought quickly heading in the opposite direction.
Special thanks this week to my Lucas muses. 😀