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What are the rules for pronouncing (or not) the letter "H" at the beginning of a word such as hotel, honest, hair, heir, herb, and so forth?
I don’t think there are any rules for words with initial silent <h>, but there are mercifully few of them: heir, honest, honor, and hour (plus, of course, longer words derived from these four). Herb, homage and the much less common hautboy have pronunciations with and without [h]. All of these words came from Latin by way of French, and in French the Latin [h] sound was sometimes lost but the <h> letter either remained or was lost in French then brought back in English in the Renaissance enthusiasm for things classical. If you have access to the Oxford English Dictionary, you’ll find that many, many words during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance had dual pronunciations with and without the [h] sound or the <h> letter.

Though this is not part of your question, these very few words with silent initial <h> are the ones that take an rather than a.

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