Thursday, February 16, 2012

Agatha Christie cut down for language students

New versions of 20 detective novels produced for 'upper intermediate' English language learners

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie: tall order to cut down. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty

From Queen of Crime to Queen of the Classroom: a new series of simplified, abridged Agatha Christie novels are set to introduce non-native English speakers to the glory of the British murder mystery.

Publisher Collins has cut down 20 of Christie's detective novels – including Poirot's first case, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and Miss Marple's debut outing The Murder at the Vicarage – by 60%, simplifying the language and adding character notes and glossaries. The books are aimed at "upper intermediate" English language learners, and are intended to ensure that "studying English is as captivating as it is educational".

"There's a high awareness of Agatha Christie out there but a lot of non-English speakers would find the originals too difficult. The language is quite archaic, the plots are quite difficult, with loads of characters," said publisher Catherine Whitaker. "Her grammar is quite complex – which it would be – when you're speculating you need to use more complex grammar."

Keen to keep the flavour and style of Christie's novels as much as possible, instead of taking the usual approach and having the adapter read the original and rewrite it in simple language, Collins decided to work with abridgers and specialist English language editors to create their new versions.
Full story at The Guardian.

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