Magical Me

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Huì mófǎ de wǒ
huì = 'able, can do'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
de = connecting particle
= 'I'.
I Who Can Do Magic
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Shénqí de wǒ
神奇 shénqí = 'magical'
de = connecting particle
= 'I'.
Miraculous Me
Watashi wa majikku da
私は watashi wa = 'I' + topic particle.
マジック majikku = 'magic' (English).
da = 'to be' = 'am'.
I am Magic
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Cái tôi mầu nhiệm cái tôi = 'ego'.
mầu nhiệm 'wonder-working'.
The Wonder-working Ego / I
Mongolian (previous)
Гайхамшигт би
Gaikhamshigt bi
гайхамшигт gaikhamshigt = 'wonderful, remarkable'.
би bi = 'I'.
Wonderful Me
Mongolian (new)
Би шидтэн
Bi shidten
би bi = 'I'.
шидтэн shidten = 'magical one' = 'magician'.
I am a Magician

Lockhart's insufferably conceited 'Magical Me' is translated differently in the various translations. This is due to the unusual structure of the English and the different interpretations that can be put on 'magical'.

Structurally, the title uses an adjective ('magical') to modify a pronoun ('me'). This is the attributive usage of the adjective. Notice that the pronoun in English is normally 'me', not 'I', although 'I' would be possible in very stiff, formal grammar. Using 'I' would take the nuance from one of self-satisfied self-congratulation to extreme pomposity.

Semantically, the word 'magical' means 'relating to, using, or resembling magic', but is more frequently used in the sense of 'beautiful or delightful in a way that seems removed from everyday life'.

Grammatical structure

Grammatically the translated titles fall into two categories:


More important is the choice of expression to translate 'magical'. This covers a continuum, ranging from those that refer primarily to magic at one end to those that mean 'beautiful' or 'delightful' at the other. Only a couple of translators attempt to capture both.

Those that reference magic do so in a couple of ways:

One translation renders only the sense of 'wonderful and delightful' without conveying the reference to magic:

Two translations attempt to convey the double sense of the English:

See also One Minute Feasts - It's Magic.

Category: Who's Who / Biography

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