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How do you pronounce "Lowe" in "Lowe's", the home improvement store in U.S.?

How is it pronounced when it is in a person's name? Is it pronounced in the same way?

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It'll take you 20 seconds to find out, but you can listen to this commercial and hear a professional voice-over provide the answer you're looking for. It's pronounced the same way when it's someone's name, as you can hear in the opening of this video. – J.R. Aug 6 '12 at 0:47
@J.R.: Add that as an answer. – Mechanical snail Aug 6 '12 at 6:05
up vote 19 down vote accepted

It is homophonic with the regular word low, in all circumstances. The e is silent.

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Don't say "in all circumstances". Someone just emigrating from Germany today with name Löwe may not pronounce it that way. But his children or grandchildren will. – GEdgar Aug 6 '12 at 12:17
@GEdgar: tchrist is giving accurate information for how the store itself means its name to be pronounced. Citing special cases in general is sophistic nit-picking (shall we discuss Chinese speakers' difficulties with the term, or the attempts of people with speech impediments?), and even your special example doesn't work since the German word for lion is spelled differently from the American store chain, and there is no 's ending in German. – Robusto Aug 6 '12 at 12:34
@Robusto - I think that GEdgar was addressing the second half of the OP's question: "How is "Lowe" pronounced when it's a part of someone's name." And in that context, the remark about the German surname Lowe seems perfectly appropriate. – Lynn Aug 6 '12 at 18:11
@Lynn: Except that the German word is Löwe, not Lowe. Most Germans I've met would not be confused by such Anglicizations. You'd be making a better case if the name in question was Kraft, which does have an identical German counterpart. – Robusto Aug 6 '12 at 18:26
There are two things we need to separate: Anglicization of Foreign names; Foreign names in the original names. It is better to focus on the anglicization part, that's how all natural languages have adapted foreign words. – RainDoctor Aug 6 '12 at 19:56

I am a Lowe in the US of english descent and my family pronounce "Lowe" as rhyming with "how." Our family has been in the US since at least the late 1700s. To my grandfather's knowledge (the oldest living Lowe in my family) our family has always pronounced it this way. Speaking from personal experience, this is a less common way to pronounce this last name, however I have met others (though not many) unrelated to me who also pronounce it this way.

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It has been said this way since our Norman French wording of it was Lawe as in La-we. The English standard was changed to Lo-we. As many English Lo-we's grew to have a distaste for the old French sound of it, the E sound was dropped altogether in some cases. Other Lo-wes just kept it.

So there are Lowes out there who use two different pronunciations: the English change and the original Norman French root. I myself am Low but changed it to Lo-we as it turns out the near 200,000 of us Lowes are from a lower Norman noble house.

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My family hails from England and our family names of Marlowe and Lowe date back to the 1400s. And our family history it's always been pronounced with a long 'O' as in boat, close, ghost, wrote. It depends where in England and what class your family was from what how is pronounced. Proper bred families pronounced it with the long 'O'.

The name actually harkens back even further to the German Lowe, pronounced "Luh-veh". The German 'w' is pronounced like a 'v'.

Then again, it all depends on where the world you were from and what traits of been and down in the families over the years on how to pronounce it. Just don't get offended when somebody says our name differently than we like – it's not as simple as pronouncing "Jones". (no offense to any Joneses reading this)

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protected by Rathony Mar 2 at 4:02

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