Why ћ and ħ are different from ℏ

I noted some time ago that the Serbian letter ћ is different from the Maltese letter ħ. The Serbian ћ is Cyrillic, and its upper case equivalent is Ћ, whereas the Maltese letter ħ is based on the Latin h, and its upper case equivalent is Ħ. Also they are pronounced completely differently, the Serbian Ћ/ћ is phonetically /ʨ/, a bit like English “tch”, and the Maltese Ħ/ħ much more like a heavy English “h” (the Maltese H/h without the cross stroke is much softer).

Indeed, the IPA symbol for the Maltese sound is simply /ħ/, using the Maltese letter; it’s found in several other Semitic languages – Arabic ḥa (isolated ح, initial حـ, medial ـحـ, final ـح) and traditional Hebrew ח (though apparently that tends to be pronounced more like /x/ by modern Israelis). I’m glad to see that some of the more obscure Caucasian languages have it too: ҳ in Abkhaz, xI in Avar, xъ in Chechen, хь in Kabardian. And a couple of African languages as well, according to Wikipedia: ḥ in Kabyle, one of the Berber languages of Algeria; and simply x in Somali. And finally a couple of Romance languages/dialects: g/gh in Galician, and j in Cuban Spanish.

This is all completely different of course from ℏ, which is Planck’s constant divided by 2π.

I hope that is clear.

One thought on “Why ћ and ħ are different from ℏ

  1. I agree, and the publishers appear to feel that the violent passages are a key selling point (I read the sample chapter at the end of book one). Also not feminist but kind of endearing is the way the central male character, who happens to be a similar age to the author, gets to enjoy sex without ties with 1)married old friend with understanding husband 2)older woman who throws herself at him and falls painfully in love with him and 3)much younger woman who throws herself at him and falls painfully in love with him; all of this without him showing any sign of the discomfort of being in love with anybody himself.

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