'Americanization' of Potter a disservice

  August 21, 2003 at 1:04 AM ET
  James     Wizard News (via U-Wire)

Kimberly Noles admonishes the publishers of the American Harry Potter novels for their aversion to many British words and phrases found in JK Rowling's original draft. In this scolding tone, she also defends her argument, claiming that readers in the States are intelligent enough to uncover meanings of the more tricky dialogue, and that the words help children gain interest in culture.

Noles points outopens in new window the statistically correct statement that, for the most part, American children lag behind the young of other nationalities in the understanding of culture in the world.

American publishers have missed the mark in helping educate said children. Editors have Americanized the "Harry Potter" series altogether by changing words and phrases from the British vocabulary to fit into the uses in America.

One example is that in England a jumper is a sweater whereas in America it is a young girl's dress. The editors did leave words like prat and git, but their meanings are easily discerned using surrounding context. "Bloody" anything seems to be used often enough in movies to be almost commonplace now.

...Most adults know that other countries spell words differently, but children don't. Seeing the words like colour, favourite and honour spelled differently opens the lines of communication for discussion about other cultures and why they do things differently. These words aren't misspelled -- some words are spelled differently in other places.


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