Which Broomstick

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Fēnlèi fēitiān sàozhou
分类 fēnlèi = 'classification'.
飞天 fēitiān = 'to fly (in the sky)'.
扫帚 sàozhou = 'broom'.
Classifying Flying Brooms
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Fēitiān sàozhou xínglù
飛天 fēitiān = 'to fly (in the sky)'.
掃帚 sàozhou = 'broom'.
型錄 xínglù = 'catalogue'.
Catalogue of Flying Brooms
Kashikoi hōki no erabi-kata
賢い kashikoi = 'smart, intelligent'.
hōki = 'broom'.
no = connecting particle
選び方 erabi-kata = 'method of choosing' (from 選ぶ erabu 'to choose' and kata 'way, method').
The Smart Way of Choosing a Broom
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Chọn Chổi Thần chọn = 'to choose'.
chổi = 'broom'.
thần () = 'wonderful, miraculous'.
Choosing a Magic Broom

In English, Which Broomstick is a typically succinct book title, short for 'Which broomstick should you buy?' or 'Which broomstick should you choose?'. It incorporates the additional Rowlingesque pun of 'Witch Broomstick' (a broomstick for witches).

The Mainland and Taiwanese versions use titles suggesting a catalogue of brooms. The Japanese and Vietnamese versions use expressions related to choosing a broom. None of the translations incorporate the hard-to-translate pun.

The word 型錄 xíng-lù in the Taiwanese version is an interesting example of an English word borrowed into Chinese via Japanese. This is one of those rare cases where an English word has been fairly successfully rendered in Chinese characters, not katakana. It involved rendering the English word 'catalogue' as 型録, where means 'model, shape', and means 'list' or 'record'. The pronunciation, which is katarogu, is based on a cunning mixture of native kun and Chinese-style on readings (kata is kun, roku is on). (For other examples of successful use of Chinese characters to write English words, see club and can). 型録 is still used in Japanese, although to a large extent it has been supplanted by katakana カタログ katarogu or the alternative word 目録 mokuroku.

型録 has in the meantime made its way into Chinese (mainly in Taiwan), where it is read xínglù — a far cry from the original pronunciation 'catalogue'!

Category: Brooms

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