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Apr 26, 2020 12:15 PM
Comments · 4
Let's try and build a list together.
"a university" - not an university.
"a european country" - not an european country/city/person/region etc.
"a eucalyptus tree" - not an eucalyptus tree.
"a euro" [the money] -not an euro.
"a euchre" - not an euchre.
"a eulogy" - not an eulogy.
"a eunuch" - not an eunuch.
"a eupnea" - not an eupnea. [normal breathing resting rate ]
"a eureka moment" - not an eureka moment.
"a euripi" - not an euripi [a straight channel of water with strong tide ]
"a euroky" - not an euroky [the ability to survive under extreme opposing conditions man can do this with clothing and technology] .
"a eutaxy" - not an eutaxy .[ a good order or management]
can anybody find other "EU -- or UN -- words to add to the list or even any vowel sounding words that might be added to the list.
April 26, 2020
That seems simple enough. Which suggests to me that possibly some people are confusing more than one subject/topic concerning grammar/linguistics. And also even if you ignore the dropping of the "h" "aitch" for some speakers and regions; there are still a considerable number of old fashioned speakers present in the English speaking world.

Or to simplify "a" when before a consonant and "an" before a vowel except when the word is like "un- university" or "eu-ropean" or similar words that I can't think off right now. What learners need is a list.
April 26, 2020
The rule for "a" or "an" is a phonetic rule, not an orthographic rule.

The rule is that the indefinite article "a" is used before a singular countable noun and becomes "an" when the following word begins with a vowel sound.

an apple 
a red apple
a banana
an old banana

"a" become "an" when the following word begins with a silent "h." 

an hour
an hourly wage
a hat [not pronounced with a silent "h"]

a hotel / an 'otel [depends on the age and region of the speaker]

"a" is used before words that start with "u" and "eu" when they are pronounced with an initial "y." 

a university [pronounced "yuniversity"]
a universal truth [pronounced "yuniversal"]
an ugly dog [not pronounced "yugly dog"]

a European language [pronounced yuropean]

More information:

They joined a historical society.
They joined an historical society. (old-fashioned English)

They were staying at a hotel.
They were staying at an hotel. (old-fashioned English)
April 26, 2020
I will start with my amateur two pence worth.
Because I am not a linguist.
I think it is to do with the beginning cluster of letters between "Horse" and "Headache".

A Horse = A + H = not a vowel or vowel sound. Ho = not a vowel sound the H overrides the following "O"
An Headache = H immediately followed by a vowel or two vowels H becomes softer but not dropped in received(ish) pronunciation.

April 26, 2020
Language Skills
English, Turkish
Learning Language