Esperanto "u" vs. "ŭ"
Hi, I have a question about the two Esperanto "u".
Is there a difference between "u" and "ŭ" in pronunciation? Or is it simply to differentiate certain special words (ankaŭ, aŭ, etc.)?
h is normal English 'h'.
ĥ sounds like the 'ch' in Scottish 'loch'. It sounds like saying English 'h' while gargling dry air in the back of your throat. We don't have this sound in English. But it is a very cool sound that gives a nice character to a word, and honestly it isn't hard to imitate once you've heard it.
Okay, my understanding--and I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong--is that u is an oo sound (as I assume you know already) and ŭ is a w sound, but it's primarily used in diphthongs. So antaŭ is not an-ta-u, three syllables, but an-taŭ (with the aŭ making an ow sound), two syllables. (Like so: http://www.forvo.com/word/anta%C5%AD/#eo )
...And here's a chart that shows more stuff about ŭ and diphthong pronunciations, by the way: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto_phonology#Orthography_and_pronunciation