Poll: How do you pronounce Dashiell?

See the results of this poll: How do you pronounce Dashiell?

Respondents: 114 (This poll is closed)

  • Dash-uhl: 59 (52%)
  • Dash-el: 14 (12%)
  • Dash-yell: 1 (1%)
  • Dash-ee-el: 18 (16%)
  • Da-sheel: 22 (19%)

Okay, here goes. My grandmother, [name]Helen[/name] [name]Hammett[/name] [name]Owen[/name], and [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name] were first cousins. [name]Dashiell[/name]'s name is pronounced da-SHEEL, because it is of French origin. None of the pronunciations you have listed are correct.

I think the name has evolved since [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name] used it, though. Most people I’ve heard have said it “[name]Dash[/name]-uhl” or “[name]Dash[/name]-el.”

Leaving both he and my grandmother to turn over in their graves. He hated “dash-uhl”.

I have to agree with miloowen on this. I was/am an avid [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammet[/name] reader especially when I was younger, and the simple fact is that the his name is pronounced Da-SHEEL. Whether people choose to ignore this is well, I suppose there right to do so. However, I believe there is such a thing as correct pronunciation, especially if you are naming a child after a well known author.
If one has no idea who [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammet[/name] is then that is fine, however, the fact is this name was originally a French surname that evolved into [name]Dashiell[/name] ( pronounced as the author did).
Is there any instance of a legitimate other pronunciation- rather than people just looking at the name and pronouncing it as they choose? or how it looks? to me this is as bad as kreative spelling.
But to each their own, I suppose.

[name]Dashiell[/name] is an Anglicized form of the old French surname de Chiel, which is of unknown meaning. The de Chiels were French Huguenots who moved to [name]Scotland[/name], then [name]England[/name], then [name]Virginia[/name] and finally Maryland. The name changed from de Chiel to Da Chiell, to Da Shiell, to [name]Dashiell[/name]. The name came into use as a first name because of famous American author [name]Samuel[/name] [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name] (1894-1961), who published under the name [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name]. Dashiel was his mother’s surname; her family lived in Maryland.

Useful [name]Audio[/name] : http://inogolo.com/pronunciation/Dashiell

@miloowen- I am aware of Da-SHEEL as a pronunciation and I had forgot to add it! I just added it to the choices. Thanks so much for your unique perspective on this! Much appreciated.

@bluedahlia- thanks for the audio link :slight_smile: . Very helpful.

Wouldn’t it be pronounced [name]Dash[/name]-yell then? sounds like ciel (sky in french)? I’m french speaking and it seems that it would be pronounced this way. I’m extra confused now! :stuck_out_tongue:

Wouldn’t it be pronounced Dash-yell then? sounds like ciel (sky in french)? I’m french speaking and it seems that it would be pronounced this way. I’m extra confused now!

Since the original surname did evolve and was used in [name]Scotland[/name], [name]England[/name] and [name]America[/name] along with the spelling being changed to [name]Dashiell[/name], somewhere along the way the pronunciation was affected. [name]Dashiell[/name] is the Anglicized version of de Chiel, which means its pronunciation and spelling was altered to suit English speakers.

from wikipedia: French immigrants to the United States (both those of Huguenot and French Canadian background) often accommodated those unfamiliar with French pronunciations and spellings by altering their surnames in either of two ways: spellings were changed to fit the traditional pronunciation (Pariseau became Parizo, Boucher became Bushey, Mailloux became [name]Mayhew[/name]), or pronunciations were changed to fit the spelling ([name]Beno[/name]”t, pronounced [b?nwa], became /b?n???t/). In some cases, it could go either way (Gagn”, pronounced [?a?e], become /??”?ni/ or Gonyea), or something only slightly similar (Bourassa became Bersaw).

miloowen: Fascinating! I’ve only heard [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name]'s name pronounced [name]DASH[/name]-el (or I guess, [name]DASH[/name]-uhl), which is the way all the Dashiells I know (all two of them) pronounce their names. If a mom introduced me to her newborn baby da-SHEEL, I’d tell her she was pronouncing it “wrong.”

@bluedahlia - thanks for that audiolink http://inogolo.com/audio/Dashiell_2906.mp3 I think it’s important to pronounce names the way they were intended unless you’re going to change the spellings as well. I never thought ‘[name]Dash[/name]-uhl’ sounded right but maybe because I grew up in a french speaking province. Anyway, I appreciate everyone’s input and opinions! If I use the name I think I’ll use the Da-SHEEL pronounciation- it just seems more authentic to me. :stuck_out_tongue:

You know, I’m very glad I came across this! It makes me rethink how I view [name]Dashiell[/name]. Very timely, too, considering today’s blog. Like many others, I had always thought it was [name]Dash[/name]-uhl.

@miloowen - Thank you for enlightening everyone on [name]Dashiell[/name]'s pronunciation (da-SHEEL). Many people have thought I was crazy over the years for pronouncing it this way but I guess I wasn’t mad after all. :lol:

My last name is [name]Dashiell[/name] and we have always pronounced it “duh-SHEEL”, which is approximately the way the French original name “de Chiel” is pronounced. A biographer of [name]Lillian[/name] Hellman told me that [name]Hammet[/name] pronounced it the same way, and Hellman (prickly, as always) would cut anyone who said “[name]DASH[/name]-uhl”.

As de Chiel wouldn’t be pronounced da-SHEEL in French, I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that is the only legitimate pronounciation. I was under the impression (could be mistaken) that in UK where it is more commonly used as a first name than it is in the US, it is pronounced dash-uhl. Although they do tend to “mispronounce” French words on purpose (ball-ette for ballet and so on) so maybe that’s how that evolved…

When I very first saw it I instinctively said Dah-she-el.

When I was told Dashiell was supposedly pronounced Dash-uhl, I thought that was weird because it ignores half the letters and adds a mysterious ‘u’ sound.

Da-sheel makes so much more sense and I am relieved to see that I am not crazy after all! haha.

Oh no! I am in the process of trying to sell [name]Dashiell[/name] to my husband with the “[name]Dash[/name]-uhl” pronunciation. I don’t know if I care for the official/proper pronunciation nor do I want to use the name in the wrong form.

I suspect that there are multiple “correct” pronunciations. Like [name]Pam[/name], I’ve only ever heard [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name] pronounced [name]DASH[/name]-ull or [name]DASH[/name]-yull, and the one [name]Dashiell[/name] I know says [name]DASH[/name]-yull. A quick search of the surname revealed a possible alternate origin of the name: from D’Assche, Normandy. That origin would make the pronunciation with the first-syllable intonated (llana or esdrujula, for Spanish speakers) more intuitive.

A pronunciation search brought up several audio pronunciations, including this one:
http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/dashiell-hammett
and all but the one bluedahlia put up use the [name]DASH[/name]-ull pronunciation.

Another search, about [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name], said that the surname was originally da-SHEEL but radio announcers and the like anglicized the pronunciation to [name]DASH[/name]-ull. But that raises some questions: if you anglicize a spelling, should you anglicize the pronunciation as well? What’s the difference between Anglicization and mispronuncation? Gwensmom pointed out that de Chiel wouldn’t be pronounced “da-SHEEL” in French, so perhaps the pronunciation results from multiple, different adaptations of the name. And [name]Dashiell[/name] [name]Hammett[/name]'s family certainly wasn’t the only with the the surname- wikipedia had 10 entries for notable Dashiells plus a WWII battleship called the USS [name]Dashiell[/name], and none had a pronunciation guide. But I find it difficult to believe that the “wrong” pronunciation would’ve become so widespread if everyone was so positive it was da-SHEEL.

The whole thing has sort of made my head spin- and it just reminds me how ambiguous and confusing name origins can be!

de chiel would actually sound more like ciel or miel in French so “de sheel” is wrong ([name]IMO[/name]). Maybe that’s how dashiell families say it, which means i was wrong in thinking they said “dash el” or whatecer i voted. Anyways since theyre technicalky wrong i say go for what you want!

You can probably find a prn of ciel (not related) or miel on forvo.com to get an idea. I’m on my phone so I’m keeping my answer short. Interesting debate!