Should the first h in Nehemiah be silent? If so, why?

I hear many native speakers do not pronounce the first h in Nehemiah. However, I also found a video pronouncing this h. I am wondering about the correct pronunciation of Nehemiah in English.

  1. This word is transliterated from the Hebrew word נְחֶמְיָה‎. If we try to pronounce it in the Hebrew way, the first h should not be silent.
  2. I am not sure if there is a phonic rule regarding silent h’s in English which is applicable here.

So, my question is: should the first h in Nehemiah be silent? If so, why?


In English, an "h" before an unaccented syllable in the middle of a word is often silent. This means that lots of English speakers are not going to pronounce the firat /h/ in Nehemiah (some will).

For example, Lexico dictionary says that it’s pronounced in inhibit but that it can be silent in inhibition. This is because the stress shifts from the second syllable to the third one. Similarly, Lexico says it’s silent in vehicle, but pronounced in vehicular, because the stress shifts from the first to the second syllable.

Source : Link , Question Author : Zuriel , Answer Author : Peter Shor

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