How to pronounce the family name Penhallow? I'm translating the story "A Tangled Web" by L. M. Montgomery into Russian.

  • 2
    That's actually a Cornish name. – Tristan Aug 28 '13 at 15:52
  • @Tristan - ...which likely would have been "Canadianized" when the family moved there. So really its anybody's guess what the pronounciation would have landed on. – T.E.D. Aug 28 '13 at 18:59
  • T.E.D., that's a good point. It seems that the question should be asking for a typical Canadian pronunciation of the name. – Tristan Aug 28 '13 at 20:20
  • Is "Canadianized" a real word or just something used for the purpose of commenting here? – Tristan Aug 28 '13 at 20:21
  • @Tristan - I know Americanized is the word used for the same phenomenon with USA immigrants. I made an extrapolation to Canada (and put irony quotes around it, just in case). – T.E.D. Aug 28 '13 at 21:30

I would pronounce that /penˈhæloʊ/ but there might be a particular Cornish way of pronouncing it — Penhallow is a place in Cornwall — or a Canadian way. I can imagine that Cornishmen might say /ˈpeloʊ/ or /ˈpenloʊ/.

  • Or possibly even have it rhyme with ‘pallor’! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 4 '13 at 15:56

Being a Penhallow the name is pronounced as follows, disregarding local accents. Pen ( like something you write with) ha ( A like that in bat, cat etc) llow ( like grow, toe etc) the emphasis is very subtly on the ha. in Russian it is translated as пенхаллоу ( this is my name in the credits of a Russian to show I worked on)

  • 1
    Presumably you mean Пенхаллоу: even the Russians capitalise their proper names. (Also, to be exact, it’s a transliteration, not a translation.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 12 '14 at 11:46

Perhaps that's a common enough name in Canada, but here in the US there would be no canonical way to pronounce "Penhallow", so you'd have to ask the holder of the name.

There is perhaps a certain small subset of names that have an expected "correct" pronunciation, (eg: Smith, Brown, etc), but this is not in them.

Complicating matters is that it contains the word "hallow", which different English accents pronounce differently. I doubt it is consistent across all of Canada. For instance, where I live that word is pronounced with a short a and the "ow" as a long o for the sense of "to make holy", but more like a short o and the "ow" as either a short a or more like an "er" if it is in the sense of "a valley between two hills".

Your best bet is probably to either change the question to "Canadians: If you were saddled with this last name, how would you chose to pronounce it?", or to just pick a pronunciation you like, and move on.

  • 1
    The one between two hills is a hollow, not a hallow. – tchrist Aug 29 '13 at 10:35
  • @tchrist The one between two hills is also a holler in some parts of the American South. – mikeY Sep 4 '13 at 15:43

I find it much easier to explain this syllable by syllable. I'm a Canadian after all. The sounds are bold.


Pen- The E is pronounced like the E in lend, pending, renting, and mend.

Hal- The A is pronounced like the A in malleable, grass, statistics, and batter.

Low- The O is pronounced like the O in toe, grow, sow, moe, throw, and score.

  • I pronounce the A in malleable different to that in grass. That's the problem with – tinyd Aug 29 '13 at 9:36
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    And I think pretty much every native English speaker pronounces the a in ‘statistics’ differently to both the one in ‘malleable’ and the one in ‘grass’ (whether they differ or not). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 29 '13 at 12:15
  • 1
    @Fatima Where would you put the stress? PEN-hallow or pen-HAL-low? – mikeY Sep 4 '13 at 15:46
  • @mikeY PEN-hallow – Fatima Sep 5 '13 at 23:59

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