Linguistic Q&A about the Harry Potter books

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sun Mar 4 22:45:44 UTC 2001

America On-Line at the moment has the text of an interview with Joanne "J.
K." Rowling.  Some Q&A that might be relevant to the ADS-L list:

Nimbus:  Ms. Rowling, where do you come up with those names of the
characters, like Quidditch?

J.K. Rowling:  Quidditch is a name I invented. I just wanted a word which
began with the letter 'Q' (I don't know why, it was just a whim). Many of the
names are taken from maps -- for instance, Snape, which is an English village.

Firebolt:  Ms. Rowling, after the first book, you stopped converting English
words to American words. Is there any reason for this?

J.K. Rowling:  Actually, we didn't stop, but the number of words that were
changed has been greatly exaggerated! We only ever changed a word when it had
a different meaning in “American,” for instance, the word “jumper,” which
in England means “sweater” and here, I believe, is something that only
little girls wear!

Jesse Kornbluth: Narri asks: Is there a reason Fleur's name means "flower of
the heart"?

J.K. Rowling:  Ah, Narri, you're nearly there... in fact, it means “flower of
the court,” like a noblewoman. Heart is “coeur.” (I used to be a French
teacher, sorry.)

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