Saturday, November 26, 2016

Harry Potter in biblical (etc.) languages

PHILOLOGY? Spelling out Harry Potter in Arabic, Greek and Hebrew. The beloved adolescent wizard offers opportunities for language immersion at Polis, a Jerusalem language school (Jessica Steinberg, Times of Israel).
The wizarding adventures of Harry Potter can serve as a great equalizer, particularly when they’re read in Arabic, or Greek.

That’s the plan for a series of book club meetings at Polis — The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, which is bringing together groups of Hebrew and Arabic speakers and Greek and Latin speakers to read and discuss the beloved books, beginning with book number one, which is considered the simplest in terms of the language used.

“Harry Potter is available in every language and it’s great because the text advances with each book,” said Etti Calderon, the administrative director at Polis. “The language gets more complicated and we wanted to choose a text that would appeal to many.”

I have the Latin version of the first Harry Potter book and I've seen the Greek, but not any of the others. I suspect "available in every language" above is an exaggeration, but I would be interested in hearing if there is an Aramaic translation.

In any case, this sounds like a fun way for people to improve their knowledge of these languages.