Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Bùlièdiān Máguā jiātíng de shénghuó yǔ shèhuì xíguàn
不列颠 Bùlièdiān = 'Britain'.
麻瓜 máguā = 'Muggle'.
家庭 jiātíng = 'family, household'.
de = connecting particle
生活 shénghuó = 'life'.
= 'and'.
社会 shèhuì = 'society'.
习惯 xíguàn = 'custom, habit'.
The Life and Social Customs of British Muggle Households
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Yīngguó Máguā zhī jiātíng shénghuó yǔ shèhuì xíguàn
英國 Yīngguó = 'Britain, U.K.'.
麻瓜 máguā = 'Muggle'.
zhī = 'of' (formal, classical).
家庭 jiātíng = 'family, household'.
生活 shénghuó = 'life'.
= 'and' (written).
社會 shèhuì = 'society'.
習慣 xíguàn = 'custom, habit'.
The Home Life and Social Customs of British Muggles
Igirisu ni okeru, maguru no katei seikatsu to shakaiteki shūkan
イギリス Igirisu = 'Britain'.
における ni okeru = connecting particle = 'in'.
マグル maguru = 'Muggle'.
no = connecting particle
家庭 katei = 'family, household'.
生活 seikatsu = 'life'.
to = 'and'.
社会 shakai = 'society'.
-teki = '-ical', '-ial'.
習慣 shūkan = 'custom, habit'.
Muggles' Home Life and Social Customs in Britain
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Đời Sống Gia Đình Và Tập Quán Xã Hội Của Dân Muggle Ăng-Lê đời sống = 'life'.
gia đình (家庭) = 'family, household'.
= 'and'.
tập quán (習慣) = 'custom, habit'.
xã hội (社會) = 'society'.
của = 'of, belonging to'.
dân () = 'people'.
Muggle = 'Muggle'.
Ăng-Lê = 'British' (informal).
Home Life and Social Customs of British Muggle People

Shared Vocabulary:

As if by prior agreement, the four translators have used exactly the same expressions for 'home', life', 'social', and 'customs' (except for the word for 'life' in Vietnamese):

This is largely a result of the adoption of Western concepts in the 19th century, for which the three languages adopted shared terminology. This terminology was based on Chinese roots, although in many cases it was actually created by the Japanese and then transmitted to Korea, China, and Vietnam. Being based solidly on Chinese, it easily made its way into the other languages.


The Chinese word for 'Muggle', 麻瓜 / 麻瓜 Máguā, is an ingenious combination of (1) meaning 'numb' or 'paralysed', and (2) guā meaning 'melon, gourd' and, by extension, 'head' or 'brain'. guā is used in words like 傻瓜 shǎguā 'idiot'. Máguā thus captures the tone of the original English, which is related to the word 'mug' ('idiot, easily-fooled person').

The Japanese and Vietnamese words are simply transliterations from the English.


In English, 'British' refers to 'Britain', but this conceals a rather confused situation. What is the scope of the word 'British'?

Because of the political dominance and greater population of England, both on the island of Great Britain and in the United Kingdom, historically there has also been a tendency, especially overseas, to use 'England' and 'English' to refer to the whole of the UK. In Chinese, the Great Britain or the UK is normally referred to as 英國 / 英国 Yīngguó, literally 'brave country'. The name has little to do with bravery; the character for 'brave' was chosen during the colonial era for its pronunciation, yīng, in order to transliterate the 'eng' in 'England'. In other words, the Chinese name for the UK or Britain is actually derived from the name 'England'. (England itself is known in Chinese as 英格蘭 / 英格兰 Yīnggélán.)

This Chinese name for the UK was also transmitted to Japanese (presumably in the 19th century) as 英国 Eikoku, although is read ei, not in, in Japanese. This name is still widely used, especially in words like 英語 eigo (English language). However, it has a somewhat formal feeling and tends to be replaced in normal usage by the more popular イギリス Igirisu, which again closely mirrors the pronunciation 'English'. (Note: England is known as イングランド Ingurando).

Like Japanese, Vietnamese also uses the Chinese name 英國 / 英国 Yīngguó, in the form of Anh, the Vietnamese reading of the character . All three languages thus use words related to England in order to refer to Great Britain / the United Kingdom.

In translating "British" in this book title, most of the translators use terms referring to the UK, which reflect the name 'England'. The Taiwanese version uses 英國 Yīngguó and the Japanese version uses イギリス Igirisu. The Vietnamese translator does not use Anh, instead using another name, Ăng-Lê — again quite clearly related to 'England'.

Only the Mainland Chinese version is a stickler for accuracy, using the rather formal or academic term 不列颠 Bùlièdiān, which corresponds exactly to the English term 'Britain'. This term conveys a serious academic tone appropriate to this kind of book. Despite its accuracy, however, the term 不列颠 Bùlièdiān is very infrequently used in Chinese as an alternative to 英國 / 英国 Yīngguó. Moreover, this name suggests a narrow, literal interpretation of 'British' — the island of Great Britian — that is not necessarily in the English original.

See also Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland and Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland.

Category: Muggle Studies

arrow up