Ian Rankin and JK Rowling books have opening lines translated into Scots

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Books including titles by Ian Rankin and JK Rowling have had their first lines translated into Scots as part of a project celebrating stories inspired by, written or created in Scotland.

The first line of Rankin’s novel Knots And Crosses, which introduces readers to the detective John Rebus, has been translated, as have others including Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Booker Prize-winning Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart has also had its opening line translated as part of the Braw Beginnings project, as has Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Booker Prize Awards
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart has had its first line translated into Scots (PA)

Tourism body VisitScotland teamed up with Scots expert and writer Alistair Heather as part of the Braw Beginnings initiative, which celebrates stories written by Scottish writers or with a strong connection to Scotland.

It is part of VisitScotland’s celebration of the Year of Stories, which recognises the wealth of stories inspired by, written or created in Scotland.

The first line of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, which in English is “Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive” becomes “No fir the first time, a rammy had brak oot ower breakfast at nummer fower, Privet Drive” in Scots.

The opening of Knots And Crosses – “The girl screamed once, only the once”, becomes: “The lassie let oot ae skirl, just the ane” in Scots.

VisitScotland also has audio readings of the first lines in Scots available on its website.

The organisation estimates around 1.5 million people speak Scots to some degree, with a further 267,000 possessing an understanding of the language.

Speaking partly in Scots, Mr Heather said: “This project is fun. It gies us a fresh way of looking at the literature we ken well. And it gies us a chance tae enjoy wir Scots tongue in a new environment. It’s a re-exploration.

“We’ve a lot to be proud of here. Two things I love introducing visitors and newcomers to Scotland to are our literature and the joy of the Scots language. This project emphasises both. Hopefully folk enjoy it and enjoy discovering how much great writing has Scottish connections.

  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker

  • Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by JK Rowling

  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

  • 1984 by George Orwell

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  • Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

  • Knots And Crosses by Ian Rankin

  • Fever Of The Bone by Val McDermid

  • Peter Pan by JM Barrie

“A love of literature and a complex multilingualism has marked oot Scotland for centuries. In the thoosan years since we’ve existed, the language o state has been Gaelic, Scots, then English. Aw three contribute to wir history, wir present and wir literature.

“As mair an mair o the world’s classic literature finds its wey intae Scots (Animal Farm will soon be oot in Scots, tae join titles like Harry Potter, O Mice And Men, the Odyssey) it’s right that we celebrate baith the great books that’ve been produced in Scotland, and ane o the languages it’s produced in.”

Marie Christie, VisitScotland’s head of events development, said: “Scots is an important part of our history and culture with rich oral traditions still very much alive in song, drama and storytelling.

“This project sees some of the world’s best-known books with Scottish links translated into Scots as a way to showcase the language to an even wider audience. We hope it will encourage visitors to try speaking some Scots and find out more about the language when holidaying here, especially during Scotland’s Year of Stories.

“Scots and the country’s other languages are all part of our unique culture which can only truly be experienced in Scotland, strengthening the experience we know means so much to visitors.”

The first lines can be seen at https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/culture/scots-language-braw-beginnings/

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