You might chortle at the believe, but a surprising number of words we use every day slipped into the English speech through children’s books.
“Chortle,” a combination of “snort” and “chuckle,” was coined by C.S. Lewis in the lyric “Jabberwocky,” which appears in his children’s fantasy novel < em> Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Received There . It’s not at all uncommon to hear words like “hobbit” used outside of a discussion of The Lord of the Rings . And we’d never be able to describe peach cobbler or chocolate lava cake as “scrumdiddlyumptious” without Roald Dahl.
To some degree, this results from purposeful allusion. You might not tell ” Oompa Loompa” unless you’re intending to call up an image of the fictional chocolate factory worker enslaved by Willy Wonka. But these terms bleed into our culture until even those who’ve never read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory know more or less what they mean, and they take on a whole new place in the language.
Twenty times after the series kicked off, it seems hardly anyone has avoided reading the” Harry Potter” volumes or seeing the movies; perhaps that’s why so much of the series’ wildly original vocabulary has already seeped into our everyday chatter. A well-meaning but uncool friend is” such a Hufflepuff ,” people who don’t get the Potterverse are “Muggles,” and a teach delay builds one wish for the ability to “apparate” to their destination. J.K. Rowling‘s magical world, which adds new or revitalized conceptions to a familiar world, is a rich source of vocabulary for describing our humdrum existences with more colour and imagination.
Rowling built it easy for readers to integrate spells, wizarding terms and names into their regular lives. She researched and carefully erected new words from relevant linguistic roots, ensuing in terms like “apparate” that fit perfectly into our existing language.” To apparate” is meant to magically fade and reappear in a new place, and is derived from a Latin term for “to appear.”
Other terms, like “Slytherin” or “Hufflepuff”, also indicate intending through audio, a linguistic phenomenon called ” audio symbolism .” The sibilant consonants of “Slytherin” indicate something sly, smooth and cunning( as does the obvious link to slipping serpents ); Hufflepuff’s comical “uff” s music effortful but also innocuous. Little meditate that Slytherin is the house of clever, ambitious wizards and Hufflepuff is the house of kind, hardworking ones.
“Muggle” may be the most widely used Potterism. Unlike most original words from the books, it has merited an entering in Oxford Dictionaries. The word for non-magical folk manages to sound like exactly what it is: a little bit of a goober, but a harmless one. Rowling has said she deduced the word from “mug,” a Britishism for a gullible clown, and that she also is intended to make-up the word a little bit “cuddly.”
The word she came up with evokes not only a “mug,” but something “snuggly” and likewise a “struggle.” This combo attains the word irresistible in everyday conversation, whether you’re describing someone who has never read “Harry Potter” or anyone unfamiliar with your subculture of choice. As two examples, Oxford indicates,” She’s a muggle: no IT background, understanding or aptitude at all .” em>
It’s not a slur, but it simply oozes head-patting condescension.
“You-Know-Who” and” He Who Must Not Be Named” don’t simply mean the specific characteristics of Voldemort, the super-villain of the wizarding world — they could cite any powerful, loathed figure. Even “Voldemort” has become shorthand on the left for referencing President Donald Trump. His motley crew of aides and advisors? They’re Voldemort’s loyal followers. Why explain how evil you think Steve Bannon is if all we need to do is call him a” Death Eater “? On the flip side, “Hermione” became almost synonymous with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.
“Accio,” the Summoning Charm, is too useful to leave in the magical world — we all need to accio our keys every now and then — though its pronunciation is too tricky to easily use in spoken dialogue. Sometimes the believed to be deleting someone’s memory with a quick “obliviate” seems tempting. And though “Time-Turners” are heavily limited even in the wizarding world, where they at least exist, after a particularly dumb mistake it’s natural to openly wish for such a magical gadget to go back and fix things.
It’s a rare author indeed whose imagination changes the very language we use. William Shakespeare and John Milton, both renowned poets, have famously introduced hundreds of words and phrases into the English tongue. Lewis Carroll, one of the most legendary children’s volume writers of all time, has furthermore coined words that we now use without even realizing where we learned them. Rowling’s well-researched inventiveness has put her in the same illustrious group — and for all the theme park and movies her volumes have spawned, this effect on the English language may prove to be one of the “ em> Harry Potter” universe’s most long-lasting and profound accomplishments.
What wizarding words do you find yourself scattering into your vocabulary? Let us know in the comments.
From June 1 to 30 , HuffPost is celebrating the 20 th anniversary of the very first” Harry Potter” volume by reminiscing about all things Hogwarts. Accio childhood remembrances . em>