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Enjoy & Learn


Sorcerer better than philosopher? Or pottering with Harry Potter

We all know the incredible boy called Harry Potter, don’t we? We have either read one of J.K. Rowling’s novels or seen him on the big screen. Those of us who have worked hard on their English for years managed to read the original version of the book or listen to Harry and his friends speak to us in the cinema. All the others, the unfortunate ones, had to depend on the Polish translation.

We are among many other nations that were impatiently waiting for the book to be translated into their native language, eager to enter the magical world of Hogwarts. Surprisingly enough, Americans were standing in line, as well. It turned out that most American children would have language problems while reading the book so the American publisher decided to edit the British version to make it readable in the US.

First of all, there are different titles. In Britain you go to a bookstore and look for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, while in the USA you will buy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Arthur Levine, the editor of the American edition, did not really like the word philosopher so he suggested that J.K. Rowling come up with something more American- friendly and marketing-oriented. Secondly, there are differences in spelling. Colour be - came color and grey became gray. He introduced those minor but quite important changes so that American children would not become confused about the already complicated spelling. And finally, there is a long list of words which had to be changed as they have either a different meaning in the two languages (e.g. first floor, pants) or do not exist in the other one at all (e.g., lorry and truck, torch and flashlight). G.B. Shaw once said of the British and Americans: “We are two nations divided by a common language”. It seems that this statement is still true. But maybe we, members of a United Europe, will help the two nations to communicate with each other? :)

Below are lists of selected words divided into categories. They are taken from the British and American editions of the book. Study them carefully and complete the tables. Have fun!!

TECHNOLOGY

windscreen windshield cine-camera flashlight video camera trunk hood video recorder bonnet (of car) VCR boot (of car) torch

BRISTISH
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

AMERICAN
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

MISCELLANEOUS

queue quits crazy sack (a worker) line fire (a worker) holiday vacation mad cock-crow dawn two weeks Santa Claus fortnight Father Christmas even

BRISTISH
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

AMERICAN
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

FOOD

candy ice lolly jacket potato ice pop Jell-O canned soup biscuits bag of chips jelly packet of crisps desserts cookies baked potato puddings tinned soup sweets

BRISTISH
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

AMERICAN
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

DOMESTIC

dustbin mummy sellotape scotch tape trashcan bathroom cooker wardrobe mommy stove closet toilet

BRISTISH
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

AMERICAN
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

SPORT/ENTERTAINMENT CLOTHING

cinema sneakers cracker hats movies bathrobe dressing gown football soccer locker room party hats trainers changing room

BRISTISH
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

AMERICAN
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Anna Wierzbicka
Autorka jest konsultantem metodycznym
filii FELBERG w Krakowie.

 

KEY

TECHNOLOGY

cine-camera
video recorder
windscreen
boot (of car)
bonnet (of car)
torch

video camera
VCR
windshield
trunk
hood
flashlight

MISCELLANEOUS

queue
sack (a worker)
fortnight
quits
mad
Father Christmas
cock-crow
holiday

line
fire (a worker)
two weeks
even
crazy
Santa Claus
dawn
vacation

FOOD

ice lolly
jelly
jacket potato
sweets
tinned soup
puddings
biscuits
packet of crisps

ice pop
Jell-O
baked potato
candy
canned soup
desserts
cookies
bag of chips

DOMESTIC

dustbin
cooker
sellotape
toilet
wardrobe
mummy

trashcan
stove
scotch tape
bathroom
closet
mommy

SPORT/ENTERTAINMENT CLOTHING

cinema
football
changing room
cracker hats
dressing gown
trainers

movies
soccer
locker room
party hats
bathrobe
sneakers
 
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