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Harry Potter Translations


One man’s hobby has become a book display at the University of Calgary. Nicholas Zekulin, who is a Linguistics professor at the U of C, began collecting various translations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone while travelling, after his daughter got him hooked on the boy wizard in 2003.

The challenge of finding the translations was contagious, and soon Zekulin’s friends were in on the fun, bringing him different language copies when they went abroad. His collection is now 67 strong and includes versions in Icelandic, Latin, Nepalese, Urdu and Ancient Greek, for starters.

Apparently, the enormous popularity of Harry Potter is such a widespread phenomenon that it’s been helping prolong the lives of dying languages.

Zekulin said many cultures are using Harry Potter to revive languages in danger of disappearing.

“There’s a lot of that, particularly in Europe, small languages, languages like Faroese, which is spoken only by a couple of thousand people on the Faroe Islands,” he said.

“It’s one way that they have of keeping the language alive, not only as a spoken language — because many of their children might hear their parents or grandparents speak it, might even speak it [themselves] — but would never see it written.”

Huh. Maybe Harry Potter’s a little bit magic after all.

Below: The Chinese, Arabic and Polish translations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows .

harry-potter-arabic harry-potter-polish harry-potter-chinese

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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