The Monster Book of Monsters

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Yāoguài-men de yāoguài-shū
妖怪 yāoguài-men = 'monsters, bogeys, goblins, demons', -men makes it plural ('monsters').
de = connecting particle
妖怪 yāoguài = 'monster, bogey, goblin, demon'.
shū = 'book'.
The Monsters' Book of Monsters
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Guàishòu de guàishòu-shū
怪獸 guàishòu = 'strange, monstrous beast'.
de = connecting particle
怪獸 guàishòu = 'strange, monstrous beast'.
shū = 'book'.
The Monster Book of Monsters
Kaibutsu-teki na kaibutsu no hon
怪物的な kaibutsu-teki na = 'monstrous' (怪物 kaibutsu 'monster' + -teki ending with function similar to English '-ical' + na, an ending for certain types of adjective).
怪物 kaibutsu = 'monster'.
no = connecting particle
hon = 'book'.
The Monstrous Book of Monsters
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Quái Thư Về Quái Vật quái thư (怪書)= 'strange book'.
về = 'about'.
quái vật (怪物) = 'monster'.
The Strange Book about Monsters
Mongolian (new)
Мангасуудын тухай аймшигт ном
Mangasuudiin tukhai aimshigt nom
  Terrible Book about Monsters


In English, a 'monster' or 'monstrous' suggests something huge. Advertisers use the word 'monster' to tell customers (especially kids) that they're getting something that is extra-big. The 'monster book' is a huge book.

But Rowling cunningly makes use of the second possible meaning, 'something that acts like a monster'. The double meaning is what makes the scene in 'Flourish & Blotts' bookshop so hilarious, because the books literally behave like 'monsters'!

Unfortunately, none of the CJV words for 'monster' has the meaning of 'huge', thus losing the pun. The name of the book in the three languages can only mean a book that acts like a monster.

Comparing the translation of the word 'monster':

An introduction to Japanese ghosts and monsters can be found at Japanese Ghosts, Ghosts, Demons, and Spirits in Japanese Art, All-About's section on Japanese Ghosts, and ukiyo-e prints of Japanese ghosts in Horror Special. Chinese ghosts are not so well served, although there are a number of sites devoted to female ghosts seducing young scholars, including: The Illuminated Lantern (with a nice bibliography), Tales from the Dark Side - Understanding Chinese Ghosts, and Chinese Ghosts. Sadly, Vietnamese ghosts are almost entirely missing from the Internet.

Category: Magical Creatures

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