Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stane (Scots Language Edition)

J.K. Rowling/Amazon whovianmuse/Imgur Remix by Jason Reed

Blithering Bonnet, Dumbiedykes, and more delightful translations from the Scots version of ‘Harry Potter’

It's familiar and brand new for readers.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Jan 22, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 3:50 am CDT

The Harry Potter series has been translated into dozens of languages since we first met the Boy Who Lived 20-some years ago, but one of the latest editions would fit right in at Hogwarts.

The Scots edition of the first Harry Potter book is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane (previously titled Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K. and Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.). It was first announced last June, but some fans are only just discovering that a Scots translation, courtesy of Matthew Fitt, exists. Although the Scots version of Philosopher’s Stone has been around for a few months, a recent post via Geeks Are Sexy seems to have brought it back on fans’ radar.

Scots is a language spoken throughout the Lowlands and Northern Isles of Scotland that differs from both Scottish Gaelic and English, though it does have some similarities to the latter. (No, it isn’t just another name for English being spoken in a Scottish accent.) As seen from the first page of The Philosopher’s Stane, which Imgur user anlyin uploaded in December, the text is both familiar and completely new. The iconography of the text can help those who don’t speak Scots pick up on the translation.

New translation of Harry Potter into Scots

And when you go further into the book, you’ll find that certain characters and names—such as Dumbledore, Quidditch, and the Sorting Hat—aren’t lifted directly from J.K. Rowling’s original books. (They’re translated to Dumbiedykes, Bizzumbaw, and Blithering Bonnet, respectively.) It’s a fitting translation for a series that largely takes place in Scotland, where Hogwarts resides.

Harry Potter is just one of many books that Fitt has translated into Scots, which 1.5 million people in Scotland speak, and it allowed him to make sure that Scots lives on and is spoken and read by younger children. Fitt told NPR back in November that he used to be “criticized, vilified, beaten for speaking Scots,” something that was common among people his age.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone is just one more step on that journey, but I think a very big one because it’s such a—it’s such a classic, huge, global book,” he said.

The Philosopher’s Stane has been available in the U.K. since November, but American readers will have to wait until March 1 to read it.

H/T io9

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*First Published: Jan 22, 2018, 4:42 pm CST