H

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The eighth letter of the latin alphabet. The Semitic letter ח (Ħêt) probably represented the phoneme /X// (pharyngeal voiceless fricative) (IPA [ħ]). The form of the letter probably stood for a fence. Early Greek H stood for /h/, but later on Η or η (Êta) stood for /E:/. In Modern Greek this phoneme fell together with /i/, similar to the English development where EA /E:/ and EE /e:/ came to be both pronounced /i:/ . In Etruscan and Latin, the sound value /h/ was maintained, but all Romance languages lost the sound – only Rumanian borrowed the /h/ phoneme from its neighbouring Slavic languages and Castilian /x/ developed [h] allophones in some Spanish-speaking countries.