Tuesday 21 August 2007

On HarryPotterlinguistics

One of the bonuses of giving talks at book festivals is that you add vastly to your range of examples. I've been taking By Hook or By Crook around the litfests this year, and I always come away after each event with new stuff - personal stories about inventing words, puns, dialect usage, and so on. And sometimes a new (to me) source of data. This has just happened after the Edinburgh Book Festival, where I was talking last weekend. One of the things I discuss in the book is the linguistic contrast between the British and American editions of Harry Potter. I had no idea that there was a website devoted to such a thing - but there is. Someone who was at the talk has just told me about it. The URL is at Harry Potter British English .
I've just had a browse and it is a very interesting site, identifying all kinds of points of linguistic difference. The forum responses are pretty accurate, too, judging by the ones I looked at.

I describe By Hook or By Crook as a linguistic travelogue, and - as I say in the preface - it is the side-roads that produce some of the most enjoyable encounters with language. The Web is full of brilliant side-roads - if you can find them. So, thanks to my correspondent Susi for the signpost.


Lucy Pearson said...

You might be interested to know that there is a similar community serving non-American writers writing US-based work: http://community.livejournal.com/drop_the_u/27709.html. I'm a member of both communities, and it's fascinating to see the diversity that shows up in the comments - regional variations are still alive and well!

DC said...

And thanks for that one, too.