eg. "ch" instead of "ĉ".

It's less common than the x-system of typing accented characters, but some Esperanto sites do have it as an option, such as http://bertilow.com/.

It seems to introduce ambiguity, because Esperanto already has a letter h. The entire meaning of words might be changed, one word turned into another word.

Why was "h" chosen for this purpose? Are there words that can be "broken" like this, by being typed with the h-system?

  • 1
    Zamenhof suggested this system. Perhaps it comes from the fact that the sounds of ⟨ĉ⟩ ([t͡ʃ]) and ⟨ŝ⟩ ([ʃ]) are commonly written as ⟨ch⟩ and ⟨sh⟩ respectively, and he just went from there? An example of a word that becomes broken is bushaltejo, which could be misread as buŝaltejo, which would be a place where mouths are high O_o. Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 18:27
  • 1
    Nice! Is there a concrete reference to Zamenhof suggesting the system, is it written anywhere? That could make a good answer. Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 18:33
  • Okay, I am now not sure whether it was Zamenhof himself. However, in the Fundamento de Esperanto the h-system is suggested: akademio-de-esperanto.org/fundamento/gramatiko_angla.html (first page, below the alphabet). Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


The h-system was proposed by Zamenhof himself in his Aldono al la Dua Libro de l' Lingvo Internacia in 1888. On page 6 it reads:

Se ia el la tipografioj ne povas presi verkojn kun signetoj superliteraj (ˆ) kaj (˘), ĝi povas anstataŭigi la signeton (ˆ) per la litero „h“ kaj la signeton (˘) tute ne uzadi. Sed en la komenco de tia verko devas esti presita: „ch=ĉ; gh=ĝ; hh=ĥ; jh=ĵ; sh=ŝ“.

  • +1 pro la interesa ligilo al la antaŭ-fundamenta tempo.
    – marcus
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 19:26

I read somewhere that It was Zamenhoff's idea, but regardless the h-system is a bad idea. I don't care who suggested it. The x-system works perfectly because the letter 'x' doesn't exist in Esperanto, therefore there is no possibility of ambiguity, like there is with the h-system.

Chashundo - (ĉashundo) - hunting dog
Chashundo - (ĉaŝundo) - hook

  • This adds nothing to the already existing answer, which provides a source and has been accepted. Commented May 20, 2020 at 7:32
  • 2
    it does give an example of a broken word though, which was part of the question. Commented May 26, 2020 at 9:36

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