You are right. Again, I should have spent a little more time going into further detail, including a comment on those words. The constraint might be a little more specific, indeed. That might explain why so many English speakers actually pronounce the first syllable of the Korean word "Hyundai" as [hyun] with the high back rounded[u] vowel. Can you think of any other vowel after the initial "hy" in English? In other word-initial environments, the "y" after "h" seems to be pronounced as [ay], exactly to avoid having to pronounce [hy] followed by a vowel--hyena, hyacinth, hiatus, Hiawatha, ... In any case, the fact that it is a difficult cluster to pronounce remains, if the constraint may be scalar in nature, as the [h] is often dropped even in those words you list in fast speech, etc. YK.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ph. D." <phild@...>
Date: Thursday, June 17, 2004 11:25 pm
Subject: Re: Hyundai (Was: Re: Graphemes defined)

> Young-Key Kim-Renaud wrote:
> >
> > [snip]
> >
> > English speakers usually drop the [y] glide there
> > because [hy] in a word-initial position is a difficult
> > cluster to pronounce, . . .
> Is it? Human, huge, hew all have initial "hyoo" for me.
> --Ph. D.