Harry Potter Translated Into Scots Is The Most Delightful Thing You'll Read Today
Since its original publication 20 years ago, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has been translated into over 80 languages, which means you can read about the Chosen One's fantastical adventures in Afrikaans, Bulgarian, Hindi, Vietnamese, and dozens of other tongues. Now, there is even a new Scots language translation of Harry Potter, and it's honestly delightful.
You may know him as The Boy Who Lived, but in Scots, Harry Potter is given a new title: The Laddie Wha Lived. An updated nickname is just one of the hundreds of differences in in the 80th and one of the most recent translations of the iconic children's book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (otherwise known as The Sorcerer's Stone stateside) by seasoned translator, author, and poet Matthew Flick. Published in the U.K. in November, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stane will be available in the U.S. March 1 from Black & White Publishing. Potterheads and language-lovers alike are going to want to get their hands on this unique edition, featuring a description of Mr. Dursley as a "muckle, beefy-boukit man wi a stumpie wee craigie." (Did you just slip into a thick Scottish accent reading that, because I know I did.)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stane (Scots Language Edition) by J.K. Rowling, translated by Matthew Fitt, $10.91, Amazon
While some of the most iconic words and names stay true to the original English version of the book, including Hogwarts, Weasley, normal, and weird, the Scots edition of the first Harry Potter book does feature some major vocabulary changes. According to Fitt's translation, the Hogwarts headmaster is named Dumbiedykes (Dumbledore), the school's favorite sport is called Bizzumbaw (Quidditch), students are sorted into their school house by the blithering bonnet (Sorting Hat), and witches and wizards shop at Squinty Gate (Diagon Alley.) Scots may sound like a familiar language when you hear it spoken, but without a translation dictionary, reading this version of Harry Potter would be nearly impossible for native English speakers.
A part of the Germanic language family, the Scots dialect is a close relative to modern English, German, and Dutch that is spoken by 1.5 million people, most of them in Lowland Scotland. When spoken out loud, it is easy for English speakers to pick out the similarities between their own language and Scots, but when written, the language looks like something straight out of one of Hagrid's diary or one of Harry's spellbooks.
Harry Potter and the Philosipher's Stane isn't the first time translator Matthew Fitt has adapted a major children's book for Scots language readers. An author of his own original kids books, Fitt has previously transformed Roald Dahl's classics The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine into The Eejits and Geordie's Mingin Medicine, respectively. As a child who grew up speaking and reading Scots, he dedicated the last 15 years of his life to making more books available to young readers who want to access stories in their native tongue. "I was criticized, vilified, beaten for speaking Scots," Fitt told NPR in an interview about his childhood as a native speaker. But despite his negative experiences, Fitt wants to preserve his beloved language for younger generations. "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is just one more step on that journey," he explained to NPR, "but I think a very big one because it's such a - it's such a classic, huge, global book."
If you want to read more about Ye ken wha (You Know Who) in Scots, then make sure you order a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stane (Scots Language Edition), available March 1 from Black & White Publishing.