I’ve been working on learning French this year using the Duolingo website in preparation for our trip to France in October. I was getting pretty good at reading websites. I could at least get the general idea of what was going on. I saw a suggestion to try reading a book that you know really well. I decided to try Sorcerer’s Stone.
When I opened up my French copy from Pottermore I saw an immediate problem. It is written in past tense. I don’t know past tense. Ok, time to learn.
This is how I read it. At first I tried to understand every word. It took forever to highlight every word I didn’t know for the dictionary to define. Now I read a paragraph in French and see what I think it says and then read the paragraph in English.
What are things called in French?
Major character names are the same but there are some differences.
Hogwarts – Poudlard
Muggles – Moldu
Diagon Alley – Chemin de Traverse
I can’t imagine trying to translate Hagrid into another language. Here are some of my favorite translations:
Codswallop – sac de Méduse (bag of jellyfish)
Blimey – Nom d’un vampire (name of a vampire)
I need to work those phrases into my daily conversation.
Because this is taking a long time, I haven’t gotten all the way through the book yet. I have gotten through the beginning though and that is my favorite part of this book. I’m a sucker for origin stories so the beginning of a series is always my favorite. I liked rereading all the little details that get forgotten when a book is translated to a movie like Hagrid moving about Muggle London and knitting on the train.
The one thing that always surprises me when I reread this book is how much foreshadowing there is. I remember my first reread when I was shocked when Hagrid says Sirius Black lent him his motorcycle to deliver Harry to the Dursleys. It is such a throw away line in this book but speaks volumes to how well planned the whole series is.
Linking up with the Harry Potter re-read at Book Journey.