Chapter 3: The Letters from No One

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Māotóuyīng chuánshū
猫头鹰 māotóuyīng = 'owl'.
chuán = 'transmit' or 'pass on'.
shū = 'book' or 'letter'.
Owl Message(s)
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Cóng tiān ér jiàng de xìnhán
cóng = 'from'.
tiān = 'heaven/sky'.
ér a literary grammatical particle roughly meaning 'and'
jiàng = 'descend'.
de = connecting particle
信函 xìnhán = formal word for 'letter'.
Letter(s) Coming Down from the Sky = Unexpected Letter(s)
Shiranai hito kara no tegami
知らない shiranai = 'not know' (shiru = 'to know').
人から hito kara = 'person' + 'from' = 'from a person'.
no = connecting particle
手紙 tegami = 'letter'.
Letter(s) from an Unknown Person
이상한 편지들
Isang-han pyeonji-deul
이상하다 (異常) isang-han = 'strange, odd, abnormal, unusual'.
편지 pyeonji (便紙 / 片紙) = 'letter' ( -deul Plural).
The Strange Letters
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Những lá thư không xuất xứ những = plural marker for thư('letter').
= counter for letters, etc.
thư () = 'letter'.
không = 'not/no'.
xuất xứ (出處) = 'source'.
Letters With no Source
Mongolian (previous)
Эзэнгүй захиа
Ezengüi zakhia
эзэн ezen = 'owner'.
эзэнгүй ezengüi = 'ownerless'.
захиа zakhia = 'letter'.
Ownerless Letter(s)
Mongolian (new)
Нууцлаг захидлууд
Nuutslag zakhidluud
нууцлаг nuutslag = 'secret, mysterious'.
захидал zakhidal = 'letter' (Plural form захидлууд zakhidluud.)
Mysterious Letters

'Letters from No One', believe it or not, can be difficult to translate into foreign languages. In English, if you say 'I got letters from no one' it usually means 'I got no letters'. But in this chapter, 'letters from no one' is a witty way of saying that the letters came from somewhere unknown. Translators have come up with ingenious ways of saying this.

How is 'from no one' translated?

How is 'letters' translated?

The word 'letter' in English is related to the word 'letter', that is, 'a letter of the alphabet'. In several languages (including, of course, Chinese itself) words for 'letter' are etymologically related to Chinese. Japanese and Mongolian use native expressions.

Some translators pluralise 'letter', as in English; others do not.

(Korean appears thanks to "Hiro".)

(Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)

Chapter 2
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