A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone in the spoken form of the language....
in the basic modern Latin alphabet
Basic modern Latin alphabet
The International Organization for Standardization basic Latin alphabet consists of the following 26 letters:By the 1960s it became apparent to the computer and telecommunications industries in the First World that a non-proprietary method of encoding characters was needed...
The Semitic letter ⟨ח⟩ most likely represented the voiceless pharyngeal fricative
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is h-bar .-Features:Features of the voiceless pharyngeal fricative:...
(ħ). The form of the letter probably stood for a fence or posts.
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...
Eta ) is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet. Originally denoting a consonant /h/, its sound value in the classical Attic dialect of Ancient Greek was a long vowel , raised to in medieval Greek, a process known as itacism.In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 8...
⟨Η⟩ in the Archaic period still represented /h/ (later on it came to represent a long vowel, /ɛː/). In this context, the letter eta is also known as heta
Heta is a conventional name for the historical Greek alphabet letter Eta and several of its variants when used in their original function of denoting the consonant /h/. The letter Η had been adopted by Greek from the Phoenician letter Heth originally with this consonantal sound value, and Hēta...
to underline this fact.
Thus, in the Old Italic alphabets, the letter heta of the Euboean alphabet was adopted with its original sound value /h/.
The Etruscan language was spoken and written by the Etruscan civilization, in what is present-day Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria and in parts of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna...
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
had /h/ as a phoneme, but almost all Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...
lost the sound—Romanian
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...
later re-borrowed the /h/ phoneme from its neighbouring Slavic languages, and Spanish
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...
developed a secondary /h/ from /f/, before losing it again; various Spanish dialects have developed [h] as allophone
In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...
of /s/ in some Spanish-speaking countries.