Checking in

Erin McMullin erm8 at
Tue Feb 3 13:12:11 EST 2004

I almost never write in, but this is a subject that's been bugging me for a
while, specifically the "American" language editions of the HP books.  I
find it disheartening that publishers feel the need to Americanize the
language in the HP books - I think it reveals a pessimistic attitude about
the ability of american kids to learn, not just british english words (like
'jumper' and 'lorry') but even words that are found in american english but
just aren't as common.  For example - satsuma is a word in american
english - it is a smallish citrus fruit kind of like a clementine.  Maybe
not every american kid knows the words for all the varieties of citrus
fruits on the market, but shouldn't they be given the benefit of the doubt
on their ability to ask someone about an unfamiliar word??

By the way, when I was a kid and just starting to read DWJ books, the
british english was part of what fascinated me - so many new words!!  And in
the time before I learned that a jumper is a sweater, I imagined so many
fascinating articles of clothing that could potentially be a 'jumper'!

~ Erin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Otter Perry" <ottertee at>
To: <dwj at>
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 10:03 AM
Subject: Re: Checking in

> On Tuesday, February 3, 2004, at 05:34 AM, minnow at wrote:
> > Gili wrote:
> >
> >> As there is a single
> >> word/phrase which differs between the two editions and actually makes
> >> a
> >> difference to the translation (divergent spellings and use of
> >> synonyms don't
> >> really affect my word choice in Hebrew), I say I translated from the
> >> British
> >> edition, thus satisfying the readers that my translation is more
> >> faithful to
> >> the original. The word, by the way, is "satsuma" in the British
> >> edition,
> >> "large walnut" in the American, and describes an object wedged in the
> >> left
> >> nostril of a very unhappy witch.
> >
> > For goodness' sake, is the satsuma unknown in America?  That's a
> > sorrow for
> > the whole continent!  I knew that the American publishers of *Aunt
> > Maria*
> > asserted that Americans knew not of meusli and wanted that changed to
> > some
> > proprietary brand of cereal, but since I can easily live without meusli
> > that didn't bother me so much.  No satsumas.  What a deprivation.
> Well, I knew about satsumas, but I have no idea why.
> I know about muesli, too.  There used to be a perfectly wonderful
> brand available at the grocery stores; there may still be, but I don't
> tend to spend much time in that section now.
> The only thing that routinely turns up in books from Britain that I
> have to double-think is 'pavement'.  I can usually remember to do
> it, but, as everybody no doubt knows, in the USofA 'pavement' is
> where the cars are supposed to be, and the 'sidewalk' is where
> pedestrians are supposed to be.
> --
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