Books by Ian Rankin and JK Rowling have opening lines translated into Scottish

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

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

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


Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain had his first line translated into Scottish (PA)

Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain had his first line translated into Scottish (PA)

Tourism body VisitScotland has teamed up with Scottish 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 Year of Stories celebration, which recognizes the wealth of stories inspired, 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 tree the first time, a rammy had brak oot breakfast at flower number, Privet Drive” in Scottish.

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

VisitScotland also has audio readings of the Scottish frontlines available on their website.

The organization estimates that around 1.5 million people speak Scots to some degree, with another 267,000 possessing an understanding of the language.

Speaking partly in Scottish, Mr Heather said: “This project is fun. It gives us a new way of looking at literature that we know well. And it gives us a chance to enjoy the Scottish language in a new environment. It is a re-exploration.

“We have much to be proud of here. Two things I love to introduce visitors and newcomers to Scotland are our literature and the joy of the Scottish language. This project emphasizes both. I hope people enjoy it and enjoy discovering how much the writing has to do with Scotland.

  • Douglas Stuart Bath Shuggie
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
  • Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
  • Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
  • Bone Fever by Val McDermid
  • JM Barrie’s Peter Pan

“A love of literature and a complex multilingualism have marked all of Scotland for centuries. Since we have been around for 100 years, the state language has been Gaelic, Scottish and then English. All three contribute to their history, their present and their literature.

“As the world’s classic literature finds its way into Scottish (Animal Farm will soon be phased out in Scottish, to join titles like Harry Potter, O Mice And Men, The Odyssey), it’s only right that we celebrate the great books which ‘was produced in Scotland, and in any of the languages ​​in which it is produced.

Marie Christie, VisitScotland’s Events Development Manager, said: “Scottish 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 Scottish as a way to introduce the language to an even wider audience. We hope this will encourage visitors to try speaking some Scots and learn more about the language while on holiday here, especially during the Scottish Year of Stories.

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

The first lines can be seen at

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