On the way home today I heard the most astounding realization of /h/: a teenage girl, probably 15 years old, who was consistently using [k] where most people in this part of the country would say [h]. I was dumbfounded, but I listened for several minutes and am pretty sure of what I heard. Every “he” was [ki], and every “who” was [ku].
I am baffled by this. My first thought was that the girl wasn’t a native speaker, but she had no other perceptible anomalies of pronunciation. My second thought was a peculiar speech impediment, but what kind of speech defect would result in replacing [h] with [k], rather than dropping it? I considered that I was simply mishearing, but again, in a noisy situation you’re more likely to not hear [h] at all than to consistently mistake it for [k]. My last thought was that it was an affectation, a deliberately non-standard pronunciation adopted to confuse others.
Who knows? Are there any linguists in the audience to shed light?