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, 2013 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, 2013 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, 2013 at 20:20
  • Is "Canadianized" a real word or just something used for the purpose of commenting here?
    – Tristan
    Aug 28, 2013 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, 2013 at 21:30

4 Answers 4


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’! Sep 4, 2013 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 TV show I worked on).

  • 2
    Presumably you mean Пенхаллоу: even the Russians capitalise their proper names. (Also, to be exact, it’s a transliteration, not a translation.) Nov 12, 2014 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, 2013 at 10:35
  • @tchrist The one between two hills is also a holler in some parts of the American South.
    – mikeY
    Sep 4, 2013 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, 2013 at 9:36
  • 1
    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). Aug 29, 2013 at 12:15
  • 1
    @Fatima Where would you put the stress? PEN-hallow or pen-HAL-low?
    – mikeY
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:46
  • @mikeY PEN-hallow
    – Fatima
    Sep 5, 2013 at 23:59

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