Harry Potter and the Primary
School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop
Jhubei Elementary School
Johanna Katchen (柯安娜教授)
National Tsing Hua University
http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen
[email protected]
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Why Use Harry Potter?
• The stories are popular with all ages
from upper primary school through adult
• Students may read the stories and see the
films in their L1
• Recently I have been teaching listening or
listening/speaking classes with university
freshmen—and they are like big children
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• The books contain many cultural
elements, good for speaking and writing
activities
• Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night,
differences between the US and British
education system, etc.
• The orphan as hero, beliefs about the
deceased, etc.
• Can look at comparisons with Chinese
culture
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• As a linguist, I have focused on Rowling’s
clever use of language; the names are full
of cultural meaning that is for the most
part lost in translation to the students’ L1
• In 2005 I published a “popular” book for
the Taiwan audience, English and Chinese
facing pages—Names in the Harry Potter
Books: Etymology and Word Play
• What I’m talking about comes from the
book and materials from the classes I have
been teaching
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Advantages of Using DVDs for
Language Learning
• Better than VCDs because we can change
subtitle/caption options
• Beginners can use L1 (Chinese) subtitles
to enjoy the film and get general meaning
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Intermediate students can use L2
(English captions) to study and identify
the language by reading it
• We can turn off captions to challenge and
quiz ourselves
• We can turn the English captions back on
to check our answers
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
English Names
• You meet someone named Thomas Peter
Martin.
• Is this a man or a woman?
• What is the personal name?
• What is the family name?
• What if we write Martin Thomas?
• What if we write Martin, Thomas?
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
In a list, which way is correct?
Bones, Susan
Draco Malfoy
Grainger, Hermione
Harry Potter
Malfoy, Draco
Hermione Granger
Potter, Harry
Ron Weasley
Weasely, Ron
Susan Bones
Do you say Miss Susan or Miss Bones?
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
English Family Names
• What do Chinese family names mean?
How many names are there?
• Native English names are more varied
and come from native Celtic, Germanic,
Scandinavian, or even of Latin and
French background through the AngloNormans. They have four major sources.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• 1. Names based on the first name of the
ancestor's father, e.g., Anderson is
literally the son of Anders or Andrew;
Browning meaning son of Mr. Brown.
• 2. Names based on places where
ancestors originated, e.g., Hill, Beach, or
York (for a person whose ancestors
originated in or near the city of York).
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• 3. Names reflecting the occupation or
status of the ancestor, e.g., Farmer, Smith,
Baker, also Potter (one who makes pottery).
• 4. Names that probably functioned as
nicknames describing some characteristic
of the ancestor, e.g., Small, Longman
(perhaps a tall person). Of course, these
characteristics can seem rather ridiculous
now, as Mr. Small could be a big man.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• More recent immigration has brought in
even more varied names.
• Students that enter Hogwarts the same
year as Harry include Morag MacDougal
(Scottish), Seamus Finnegan (Irish),
Blaise Zabini (probably of Italian
background), Padma and Parvati Patil
(Indian).
• Hogwarts is obviously an ethnicallymixed school, reflecting the population of
Britain.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Situation in the USA
• In the USA we also see traditional
English names as well as names from all
over the world.
• Many native speakers can identify in
general the nationality of ancestors by
family name—but after a few generations
the original ethnicity may be quite
diluted.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
English Personal Names
• How do Chinese choose personal names?
• Many common names in English can be
traced to Biblical times, for example,
Mary, Sarah, Anna, and Rebecca for
women; John, Matthew, Nathaniel, and
Stephen for men.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Others developed later but are still
considered English, for example, Alice
and Mandy for women, Richard and
Edward for men.
• Women’s names can be quite varied;
sometimes names of virtues are used—
Faith, Hope, Chastity; or names of plants
or jewels—Rose, Olive, Ruby, Amber.
• Personal names come into fashion and go
out of fashion.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• In more traditional families, children are
named after older relatives.
• Sometimes a first-born son is given the
same name as his father.
• Sometimes the first male child is named
after a grandfather, the first female after
a grandmother.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Other names in the family may be chosen.
• Strongly Christian families may choose
names from the Bible or names of saints.
• People sometimes choose the name of a
friend, a popular singer or movie star, or
just because they like the sound of the
name.
• Why is my personal name Johanna?
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Legal Names to Nicknames—Men
Richard
David
Stephen
John
Henry
Edward
James
Charles
Thomas
Theodore
William
May 17, 2006
Rich (Richie), Rick (Ricky), Dick
Dave, Davey
Steve, Stevie
Jack (Johnny)
Hank
Ed (Eddie)
Jim (Jimmy)
Charley, Charlie, Chuck
Tom (Tommy)
Ted (Teddy)
Bill (Billy), Will (Willy)
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Legal names are the full names, but many
people are called by shortened forms.
• Forms ending in –y or –ie tend to be for
children, but they may be used for older
people, e.g., President Jimmy Carter,
singers Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, and
Willy Nelson
• Short forms used with actor Tom Hanks,
President Bill Clinton
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Legal Names to Nicknames—Women
Catherine/Katherine
Elizabeth
Susan
Margaret
Dolores
Dorothy
Penelope
Patricia
Virginia
May 17, 2006
Katy, Kathy, Kit, Kitty
Betty, Beth, Lisa, Liza
Sue, Suzie, Suzy
Marge, Maggie, Peg, Peggy
Dora, Dolly
Dot
Penny
Pat, Patty
Ginny
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• For women, the –ie/-y form is not
considered as childish as it is for men
• As with men’s names, however,
shortened forms are considered for
informal and tend to be used by close
friends or family
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Nicknames
• What is a nickname?
• How to Chinese make nicknames?
• In English, in addition to shortened
forms of personal names, people may also
have nicknames.
• Men seem to be more likely to have
nicknames then women
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Another source of nicknames derives from
some characteristic of the person or his
name.
• Schoolchildren often make up names for
each other to tease; occasionally such a
nickname is acquired later, perhaps in the
military or the workplace.
• A tough guy might be called Butch, a fellow
slow to understand Fog, a boy with
prominent front teeth Beaver. Or there
may be some quirky individual reason why
a person is called a certain name.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Females are less likely to be given
nicknames. They may be called names in
school, especially by the boys (e.g., I got
Johanna Banana, and my mother got
Helen, Helen, Watermelon and also
Tomato Can because she liked to eat
tomatoes), but the names do not usually
stick after graduation unless the girl has
some strongly negative characteristic.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• In Harry Potter Snape was called Snivellus
when he was a student at Hogwarts, and
this was a derogatory nickname meaning
he was whining and sniveling.
• Draco Malfoy calls Harry and Ron Potty
and the Weasel. Potty means crazy and
Weasley sounds like weasel.
• Luna Lovegood is called Looney, meaning
crazy, because she believes unusual things
and is rather individualistic.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Why Do People Have Middle Names?
• In the first Christian church, baptism and
chrismation were performed together,
shortly after birth in the case of infants.
• In the Middle Ages these were separated in
the Western Church, and chrismation was
changed to confirmation and became a
separate ceremony to initiate a school-age
child into the church.
• It became a custom at confirmation to give
children a second name, the name of a saint.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Sometimes the middle name carries on a
personal or family name that has been in
the family for a long time.
• Some people take the family name of their
mother as their middle name.
• Middle names are not required. Some
people prefer their middle name to their
first or personal name and use it instead.
Many people who have middle names use
as their legal signature their personal
name, middle initial, and family name, in
that order, for example, David L. Jones.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Nicknames and Nursery Rhymes
Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the girls came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.
Jack Sprat could eat no fat;
His wife could eat no lean …
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Characteristics of Nursery
Rhymes
• Keep the rhythm of the language
• Use rhyme
• Use alliteration—repetition of sounds,
e.g., Peter Piper, Humpty Dumpty
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Native speaking children use language play
in their L1—nicknames, nursery rhymes,
jumping rope rhymes
Mabel, Mabel, set the table
Put on vinegar, salt, and red hot pepper!
(the rope is swung as fast as possible
when red hot pepper is reached)
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• These days we hear a lot about phonemic
awareness, the ability to distinguish the
individual sounds of a language that
distinguish meaning.
• Research is showing that rhymes and
language play can help children acquire
this awareness.
• Even making up nonsense words that
could be words is useful because this is
practice with the sound patterning of the
language (e.g., Dr. Seuss).
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Language Awareness Activity
We know Harry Potter can speak
Parseltongue. That is, he can talk to
snakes. How does snake language sound?
Take a short dialogue from your lessons
and turn it into snake language. Make
sure your snake words sound different
from each other. You can do this by
sound, duration, pitch, or other means, but
make distinctive sounds.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Names for Women from Flowers
• How do you feel about the
following names for women?
Rose, Lily, Violet?
• How about Daffodil, Pansy,
Petunia, Geranium, Hyacinth
(British comedy)?
• Positive-sounding flower names
are Rose, Violet, Lily, Daisy, and
perhaps some others popular in
the past.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Lily Evans Potter, Harry’s
mother, deceased, was killed
by Voldemort.
• Lily is a pleasant and normal
name of a flower; it signifies
purity. The lily stands tall,
proud and beautiful, a noble
flower.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Petunia Evans Dursley, Harry’s
aunt, is sister to Lily (Potter).
• Petunia is a name said to denote
anger and resentment, and
Harry’s aunt resents the idea
that she got stuck with the
responsibility of providing a
home for Harry.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Petunia is a rare name and is considered
rather silly. Although a petunia has the
same general shape as a lily, it is small
and cheap and easily blown over by the
wind.
• In animated cartoons, Porky Pig’s sister
was called Petunia Pig.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Moaning Myrtle is the ghost
that lives in the first floor
girls’ bathroom.
• Myrtle is said to mean ‘joy’, a
description opposite to that of
this ghost; it is not a popular
name today.
• A female student of Slytherin
House—the bad guys—is
named Pansy Parkinson.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Narcissa Malfoy, Draco’s mother, takes
her personal name from Greek mythology.
• Narcissus was a young man who fell in love
with his own reflection in the mirror and
spent so much time looking at it that he
died.
• It then also became the name of a beautiful
flower, the narcissus.
• The root is the Greek “narke”, meaning
‘sleep’ or ‘numbness’. We see the root
today in the word narcotic.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• While narcotics have beneficial uses in
medicine, their abuse causes real problems,
increasing the number of criminals and
ruining people’s lives.
• The Malfoys are rich; Narcissa is
beautiful and comes from a longestablished wizarding family. She also is
or pretends to be ignorant of or numb to
the evil around her in her own family.
Like the classical Narcissus, she is selfobsessed.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Poppy Pomfrey is the school
nurse and often administers
medicine to her pupils.
• One source of very strong drugs
(e.g., opium) is the poppy plant.
• In Central Europe, poppy seeds
are widely used in baking breads,
cakes, and other pastries. They
taste a little like black sesame
seeds.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Also Names of Trees and Plants
• Olive (also Olivia, and man can be
named Oliver), Lavendar, Rosemary
(both parts already names)
• Names of juicy fruits for women tend to
have sexual connotations (e.g., cherry,
tomato) or may function as nicknames
(e.g., carrot for a red-headed person of
either gender)
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Names for Pets
• How do we name our pets?
• When I was a child, many dogs,
especially those owned by old ladies, were
called Princie.
• Some cultures play on the color, such as
Blackie, in Chinese 小黑
• This comparison of kinds of pet names is
a great topic bringing out childhood
memories.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Hagrid calls his dog
Fang (牙牙), an odd
name for this dog
because he’s so
gentle.
• A fang is ‘a long
tooth of an animal’.
In mammals it is
used for tearing flesh,
in spiders and snakes
for injecting poison.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• In the movies, when they want to show a
man turning into a vampire, they show his
teeth turning into fangs for sucking out his
victim’s blood.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Fluffy (毛毛 ) is the name Hagrid gives to the
three-headed dog guarding the trapdoor
leading to where the philosopher’s stone is kept.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• In Greek mythology a three-headed dog
named Cerberus guarded the gates of the
underworld.
• The name Fluffy would normally be
given to a friendly pet dog with a lot of
hair that is kept clean and well-groomed.
• Hair and feathers in pillows might be
described as fluffy when they are clean
and puffed up with enough air to make
them feel soft.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• However, giving the name Fluffy to a
vicious beast is consistent with Hagrid’s
habit of adopting monstrous creatures
and considering them cute and harmless.
• Have you just come from the hairdresser?
Your hair looks so fluffy! Actually, I did it
myself. It’s that new shampoo that’s
different. Isn’t it great?
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Scabbers is the name of
Ron’s pet rat.
• A scab is the body’s
natural-made ‘crust
covering of a wound until
it heals’ and is often
considered an ugly and
somewhat dirty thing.
Rats are not known for
cleanliness, and Ron’s rat
is ugly.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Scab can also refer to ‘someone who
replaces a union worker during a strike’,
or to a union member who does not
honor strikes or other union rules’. The
term scab in these contexts is negative
and insulting.
• We eventually find out that Scabbers is
really Peter Pettigrew, the person who
betrayed Harry’s parents. His character
is dirty, ugly, and without honor.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Don’t pick at that scab. It will heal better
if you leave it alone!
• On the second day of the strike, the union
members surrounded the factory and
wouldn’t let the scabs in.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Names of People Based on or
Reminiscent of Animal Names
• Ron Weasley, Harry’s good
friend, from a poor wizarding
family.
• Weasley reminds us of a weasel,
a small and somewhat
insignificant mammal that eats
rodents and small birds. It is
not so beautiful or elegant.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Ron feels rather small and insignificant
because he is the sixth child in a family of
seven children.
• Since the weasel can be a clever and
tricky animal, there is a verb to weasel
out of meaning to get out of doing
something, probably by making excuses.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Vincent Crabbe, one of Draco’s
cronies, reminds us of the sea
creature “crab”, and the Latin
word for crab is cancer, as in
the astrology sign. Crabby
people are also unpleasant.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Gregory Goyle is Draco’s other
crony.
• Goyle reminds us of gargoyle, a
sculpted representation of an ugly
animal creature put on medieval
buildings for protection and to
scare away evil spirits. Goyle
looks and acts like a gargoyle.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Professor Severus Snape,
teacher of Potions, Head of
Slytherin House.
• Snape sounds like snake, and
he is head of Slytherin House,
whose mascot is the snake. He
also quickly snaps at people.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Professor Quirrell, teacher,
supports evil Voldemort.
• His name sounds like squirrel, a
meek animal. A person likened
to a squirrel is considered
small and inconsequential.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Rita Skeeter is the news
reporter who gives Harry
trouble.
• Skeeter is a slang word for
mosquito, a pesty insect.
She can also transform
herself into an insect, a
beetle.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Names of People from
Mythological Sources
• Remus Lupin , teacher of
Defense Against the Dark
Arts during Harry’s third
year, has the unfortunate
affliction of turning into a
werewolf during the full moon.
His condition is hinted at by
both parts of his name.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• In Roman mythology we read that the
city of Rome was founded by the twin
brothers Romulus and Remus; Romulus
later killed Remus.
• When they were babies, they were
abandoned by their mother but rescued
by a she-wolf, who nursed them.
• The second part of the name, Lupin,
comes from “lupis”, the Latin root for
wolf.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Sirius Black, the prisoner
who escaped from Azkaban,
can turn himself into a black
dog.
• The brightest star in the
constellation known as Canis
Major is called Sirius, and the
shape of the constellation is
said to resemble a dog. In
Latin “canis” means ‘dog’,
and we see it in the English
word canine.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Minerva McGonagall, head of
Griffindor House. Minerva was
the Roman goddess of wisdom
and the patron of teachers.
• Sybil Trelawney, divination
teacher. In Greek mythology,
Sybil was one of ten female
prophets, all of whom were
called sibyls.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Hermione Granger, Harry’s
good friend, from Hermes,
messenger god, very quick, and
her intelligence is quick.
• Luna Lovegood, student who
helps Harry in the Order of the
Phoenix. Luna was the name
of the Roman goddess of the
moon. Her nickname is Looney,
meaning ‘crazy’.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Sound Symbolism
• Sound symbolism has to do with how
certain sounds and sequences of sounds
are perceived by native speakers as
carrying elements of meaning. These
perceptions are very specific to individual
languages.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Words starting with sn- in English are
usually negative, e.g., snafu, snag, snap,
snare, snarl, snatch, sneak, sneer, snide,
sniff, snigger, snip, snipe, snitch, snivel,
snob, snoop, snooty, snort, snot, snub,
snuff, perhaps even snore and there is
often the sense of a quick motion (snap,
snatch, sniff, snip, snort) or secret
movement (snatch, sneak, snoop).
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Thus Professor Snape
as well as snake are
negative.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• The sound shwa [ә] tends to imply
something negative or unpleasant, e.g.,
mud, lug, slug, lump, puddle.
• Other words with this negative
connotation of “duh” include dumb, dirt,
dull, dump.
• The “duh” sound is used to indicate a
stupid person
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Dudley Dursley, Harry’s cousin,
about the same age as Harry
• Dudley sounds like dud ‘a
firecracker or explosive that does
not detonate’. Dudley is in one
sense a dud, too, because he is not
intelligent, not hard-working, not
good-tempered, and not even
good-looking.
• Poor Dudley Dursley is twicecursed linguistically.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Words beginning with sl- , like Slytherin
House and the word slither, have a
certain wet, slippery, and somewhat
negative quality: sleazy, sleek, slick, slide,
slimy, slink, slip, slippery, sliver, slob,
slobber, slop, sloppy, slosh, slot, sludge,
slug, sluice, slump, slur, slurry, slurp,
slush, slut, sly.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Slytherin House
• The mascot of Slytherin House is the
snake, and when snakes move, they slither.
Both snakes and the action of slithering
can indicate that someone is sneaky,
moving from side to side rather than
taking a direct and hence honest course.
Indeed, many of the members of Slytherin
House have these qualities.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Double Meanings and Word Play
• Professor Binns is the only professor at
Hogwarts who is a ghost. His name is a
pun on the word been. He had been alive
but now he is not. We might also say his
boring teaching method is from the past.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Diagon Alley is the wizard street in London
where witches and wizards shop and where
Hogwarts students get their school supplies.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Diagon Alley obviously means diagonally;
the wizard’s world exists at the same time
as the world we see, but on another plane
or angle or dimension, hence diagonally
to our own.
• An alley is ‘a small street, often narrow’.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Floo Powder is a rapid means of
transportation that witches and wizards use;
they enter a chimney, take a handful of Floo
Powder, announce where they want to go,
and they immediately arrive in the nearest
chimney.
• Floo sounds like flew (fly, flew, flown), and
they travel very rapidly, even faster than
flying.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• A flue is part of a chimney, the part
through which the smoke from the fire
escapes. Witches and wizards travel
through chimneys, too, through the flue.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Knockturn Alley (a seedy place where
one could get knocked about, sounds like
nocturne, where sinister activities take
place under cover of darkness)
• Grimmauld Place (it’s a grim old place)
• Kreacher (a house elf, treated like a
creature, sub-human)
• The Knight Bus (comes at night, rescues
like a knight)
• Mrs. Skower’s All Purpose Magical Mess
Remover (to scour a sink)
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Boggart, a creature that takes the shape
of that which we fear, is based on a term
known to children. In the United States
it is called the bogeyman.
• What meaning do you find in the name
Igor Karkaroff?
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• Igor Karkaroff, the Headmaster
of Durmstrang, has a Slavic name.
Igor is a common personal name
in Russia.
• In older American films, the
name Igor was often given to a
sinister character, usually
portrayed as large and strong but
somewhat stupid, willing to do
anything his master commanded,
even quite horrendous things.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• The name Karkaroff sounds like carcass,
a dead body, or the sound crows make—
Caw-caw!
• The “–off” (or “-of”, “-ov”) suffix is
common in Slavic names.
• There was an actor with a similar name,
Boris Karloff, who was tall and thin and
a bit scary-looking, and he played sinister
roles. Karkaroff is described as looking
and behaving very much like the Karloff
roles.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• In many dialects of English, including a
more Standard British English, the post
vocalic [r] is not pronounced too
prominently.
• That would mean that the first [r] would
not be pronounced.
• The second [r] would be pronounced as
the first sound of the last syllable.
• Thus we would get [ka ka rof]
• Kaka is a children’s word for feces.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Rowling uses the English language very
cleverly, hiding puns in the names.
There is much in the Harry Potter books to
stretch the minds of EFL/ESL learners of
all ages toward the many nuances of
English vocabulary.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
Recommended Websites
• http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/b
ooks/guides/index.htm, educational and
reliable, for teachers of native English
speaking children, but ideas can be
adapted in Chinese for language arts
• http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/index
.html, commercial site but it has games
and information
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
• http://www.jkrowling.com/ Rowlings’s
own site. Some useful information about
her and her opinions.
• http://www.behindthename.com/nmc/eng
.php A good source for the origins and
meanings of English first (personal)
names with all their variations, very
thorough.
May 17, 2006
Harry Potter and the Primary School English Teacher
Teachers’ Workshop, Jhubei Elementary School
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Harry Potter and the Primary School EFL Teacher