65. The remaining spirant

The remaining spirant, ह् h, is ordinarily pronounced like the usual European surd aspiration h.

a. This is not, however, its real character. It is defined by all the native authorities as not a surd element, but a sonant (or else an utterance intermediate between the two); and its whole value in the euphony of the language is that of a sonant: but what is its precise value is very hard to say. The Paninean scheme ranks it as guttural, as it does also a: this means nothing. The Prātiçākhyas bring it into no relation with the guttural class; one of them quotes the opinion of some authorities that “it has the same position with the beginning of the following vowel” (TPr. ii. 47) — which so far identifies it with our h. There is nothing in its euphonic influence to mark it as retaining any trace of gutturally articulated character. By some of the native phonetists it is identified with the aspiration of the sonant aspirates — with the element by which, for example, gh differs from g. This view is supported by the derivation of h from the aspirates (next paragraph), by that of ḷ + h from ḍh (54), and by the treatment of initial h after a final mute (163).