As mentioned in previous slices, I love Harry Potter and I recently traveled to Scotland.
So it’s no wonder that when I saw a copy of the first book in the series, written in Scots, I had to buy it. One year a student brought back the 5th book from a trip to India. I love it, except that it’s in Hindi and I can’t read a single word of it. And I’m so curious which set of characters is the translation for Dumbledore.
Anyway, I digress….Scots language bears a very slight relationship to standard English. For the first time in my adult life, I realized what it must be like for a child who struggles with reading. Some words are sight words (regular English) and I know them right away. And some words are really confusing, have vowel combinations I don’t know how to pronounce, and some I couldn’t understand even in context. I could read a few words fluently and then would get tripped up on one. There was a lot of Googling translations. The struggle was real and I felt a newfound empathy for my kids who experience this every single day.
One word I was able to infer from context and background knowledge was ‘hoolet’. The hootlets were acting very peculiar in the first chapter of the book and Uncle Vernon took notice. They are owls of course, and I very much enjoy the word hoolet. More so than owl.
The other word I especially like was “bawdrins”. This one took me a second to figure out because I couldn’t make a connection between this word and its English translation.
Bawdrins means cat, and again, I prefer this word as well. So from now on, owls and cats are hoolets and bawdrins in my vocabulary!