We say "a while" but "an hour". The n seems to be added for better pronunciation. What is the name for this linguistic construct (adding characters to improve pronunciation)?

In French, latent word-final consonants are pronounced before a vowel sound which is known as "Liaison" but this seems to be the wrong term for the addition of characters in English.

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    Does this answer your question? What is the P in 'nope' called? /// It's called epenthetic. Feb 17, 2021 at 9:58
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    @DecapitatedSoul But the question is mistaken: letters were removed from the Old English word "an" (one) to get "a", not the reverse.
    – Laurel
    Feb 17, 2021 at 12:56
  • I know about the history of a/an, but I don't think that's what the OP is asking about. If I understand it correctly, the OP wants a word for the addition of sounds for better pronunciation, for example, why we use an in front of a word beginning with a vowel and a before a consonant. And that's epenthesis which is covered in the linked answer. Feb 17, 2021 at 15:41


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