It is a recurring theme in HP that how your pronounce spells effects their output. There is a related question but I do not see anything in the answers about different languages.

So we know that each spell has its own incantation, but are these incantations the same in all languages? Could a spell have different incantations to suit the users native tongue?

  • 6
    Possible dupe? scifi.stackexchange.com/q/14676/3567
    – alexwlchan
    Feb 11, 2016 at 20:44
  • Please try to search for related questions before asking in order to avoid duplicates. You can also take a look at the related questions suggested by the system when you start typing in your question on the Ask Question page.
    – Null
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:52
  • @Null I did try to search but I could not quite find it. sorry for the dupe.
    – Skooba
    Feb 12, 2016 at 3:16
  • No worries. I just brought that up because you've had several duplicates recently. The Advanced Search Tips on the right side of the search page are especially helpful.
    – Null
    Feb 12, 2016 at 5:43

1 Answer 1


Not in canon.

Because of the nature of wizarding society and the way spells are constructed, the spells are all created using a root language, similar to scientific names that classify animals. This article goes into details on some of the spells and their Latin roots.

In fact, JK Rowling studied Latin as a minor at the University of Exeter, and this knowledge influenced the creation of most of the spells.

Since none of the wizards in the books speak Latin, we can assume that they are almost exclusively based in the single language and cannot be constructed in other languages like Russian or Cambodian but can be influenced by said other languages (as is the case for Alohomora as a prime example) and then recreated in "Latin-ish" (The newly made up name for spell language with English characters and influences in other languages).

This may not be the case for written spells, which may be converted to the native tongue (think Durmstrang) of the country in which the school is located, but there is no canon evidence supporting this theory.

EDIT: Changed the answer slightly based on evidence from HP Wikia and a court case, but retained current answer (as HP Wikia is not to be trusted).

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    Well... We've only seen European spellcasters. It isn't a stretch that the British, East & West European all have a base-Latin understanding of Magic. Trying to say that the Japanese & African schools ALSO are base Latin is kind of, shall we say, a German Tank Problem. JKR has already stated that at least the African school, for example, doesn't even use wands, so there's a huge unknown you're trying to make a leap through.
    – Vogie
    Feb 11, 2016 at 20:51
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    That's true, but then you get into the territory of spells that don't require words to be cast (as is seen in the fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort in OoTP). This creates an even bigger unknown. The question was about whether the EXISTING spells would be essentially translated to a native tongue to be cast. Since these spells were specifically created in the same language, and there's no canon evidence to the ability to be able to, we can assume existing spells can't be "translated" for lack of a better word.
    – Anoplexian
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:04
  • That's exactly my point - for example, we see that the students of the Beauxbaton school can cast at least the Avis Charm wandlessly & nonverbally by the time they're of age to go to the Triwizard tournament, while any wandless spells are surprising in England. It's not unthinkable that a school on the opposite side of the planet is more based on something very different than what we see in HP. In fact, it'd be really poor storytelling to make them all the same.
    – Vogie
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:17
  • Two issues. A. We can't see inside their heads, and B. Again, it's translating existing spells, not necessarily creating new spells. It's a question of whether the spells have different incantations and although they may be able to cast the spell nonverbally, it's not farfetched to say they're still "saying" the spell in their head in the actually created spell. Newly created spells are a different story.
    – Anoplexian
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:29
  • And that's my argument. Europeans may have a "Body-Bind Curse" tied to "Petrificus Totalus!", while Africans may have "si hoja!" ('Do not move' in Swahili) & North Americans may just say "Oy! Freeze!". We literally don't know. Yes, there may be some bleedover, such as how there is no word for "news" in Korean, so they just use "news" in English... but there's no evidence that they're all using the Latin base.
    – Vogie
    Feb 11, 2016 at 21:45

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