Is it common practice throughout Venezuela for people to pronounce the letter H? I've seen news footage of people in Caracas saying "tengo hambre" as though it were spelled "tengo jambre". Do they do this only with certain words? Or only in certain regions of the country? Or is it common in other parts of the Caribbean to pronounce hambre with a non-silent H?

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    It's certainly possible. I'm not aware of any particular regions of Latin America that are known for aspiration, but in rural areas it's quite possible (that's where in Spain is generally been preserved). I'll leave it to someone familiar with Venezuelan Spanish to give a definitive answer. Note that syllable final (especially word final) S is heavily aspirated in many parts of the world, and that often shifts to the start if a vowel-initial word, so that could be what you're hearing. Do you have a clip/example we can listen to? Jun 3, 2016 at 3:41
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    In Andalucía (Spain) we sometimes pronounce the letter 'h' to give emphasis to the sentence, including the word hambre, see my answer here (in Spanish, sorry). But as @guifa said, I'm also not from Venezuela, so I can't answer your question.
    – Charlie
    Jun 3, 2016 at 6:35
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    In Puerto Rico, it´s not uncommon, especially in certain rural areas as well as in certain colloquial contexts, to hear [ 'xam bre ] instead of [ 'am bre ] and [ 'xoN do ] instead of [ 'oN do ], which is, most likely, due to the linguistic influences of Andalusian Spanish in Puerto Rican speech. Jun 3, 2016 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


Venezuelan here, most of us don't pronounce h as in "jambre", but there are some areas in the country which people actually do (some as a natural way to talk, some others as a joking, but common way to talk). This is generally considered a poor way to talk and is often mocked (made fun of). Of course, the way Venezuelan people talk depends heavily on the area and "sociocultural" aspects of each one and it could vary greatly, even within the same city.

Come to think of it, there some words that are most commonly pronounced by a bigger portion of the population as with j, for example: hedor, hediondo, (mostly words with "E" after "H") so it will depend on the particular example. In general I would say it is a lot more common not to use the h as j than the opposite.

  • That is interesting. Welcome, pepe! Jan 14, 2020 at 4:16

Ok, with the evolution of modern Spanish, the letter h isn’t usually pronounced anymore in most Spanish-speaking countries.

La letra h dentro del castellano actual ya no se pronuncia — a excepción de los sitios, estoy especulando, donde la influencia árabe ha sido mayor que en otros lugares. ¿Por qué? Porque dentro del árabe tanto la letra h como la letra j tienen una pronunciación parecida a la del inglés y otros idiomas. Es decir, la letra h se pronuncia como una j suave, mientras que la j, siendo equivalente en el alfabeto de los idiomas latinos, está claro que se pronunciaría como la j inglesa.

Según leí en los comentarios, esto explica por qué algunas veces en Andalucía a veces se puede oír la h pronunciada como si fuera la j española.

Por lo demás, en la evolución del castellano podremos encontrar la razón de por qué actualmente, tanto en Venezuela como en Colombia como en muchos países de habla hispana, la letra h ya no se pronuncia.

  • @DGaleano, gracias por editarme, hablando de español y escribiendo como un analfabeta yo :'(.
    – SalahAdDin
    Jun 3, 2016 at 13:37

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