Wednesday, March 22, 2006

'Arrie Poterre...Partie Deux

I have recently begun re-reading the Harry Potter series in French. I had planned to do this during my time in France--my little charge had even lent me his books--but I just never got around to it. I find that they are just as absorbing in French as in English; I had a very difficult time setting the book aside at the end of my lunch break today.

What fascinates me the most about reading these books in translation is that the invented words have a counterpart in French. For instance, "Muggle" comes out as "Moldu" in the French version. This makes me wonder whether or not J.K. Rowling came up with these words herself, or if the French translator did this. My instinctive guess would be that it is Rowling's doing, since she is a former French teacher. As it is, she's already based many of the existing characters' names on French words, most notably that of Lord Voldemort.

I wonder if I could get an answer to my question if I sent a letter to the publisher...


Sangroncito said...

It's great that you are reading in my opinion reading is the best way to maintain one's second language.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I think Rowling has background in Alchemy and related works in "the great Work", as it's called. A lot of her "magic" stuff, is very intimately connected to the alchemists use of latin in all the incantations and prayers. I know she wrote the series while teaching ESL, in Portugal, I think. She's probably a linguist of sorts, too.