For years I've been irritated when I heard our American friends say 'erb' instead of 'herb' and could never understand why they did it, this morning I came across this news item below, and now feel rather silly. So I apologise although I've never really moaned about it, I have expressed irritation about it to my friends. I now consider myself better educated and shall no longer get irritated.
"How bland our turkey stuffing would taste without herbs but why do some Canadians pronounce herb's "h," and others don't?
From about 1200, when it was adopted from French, until about 1500, the word was "erb," without an "h" to say. The "h" was added during the Renaissance when people felt that English spellings should reflect Latin word origins.
Yet the British did not start pronouncing the "h" until the late 19th century, when compulsory education taught spelling and pronunciation reflected the word's letters.
To this day, Americans, and about 50 per cent of Canadians, retained the older pronunciation. "
Source - The Star Toronto Edition (http://www.thestar.com/living/article/708802---h-an-ingredient-of-modern-herb)
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