Chapter 11: The Duelling Club

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Juédòu jùlèbù
决斗 juédòu = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
俱乐部 jùlèbù = 'club'
The Duelling Club
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
決鬥 juédòu = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
shè = 'society, club'.
The Duelling Society
Kettō kurabu
決闘 kettō = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
クラブ kurabu = 'club'.
The Duelling Club
결투 클럽
Gyeoltu keulleob
결투 (決鬪) gyeoltu = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
클럽 keulleob = 'club'.
The Duelling Club
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Câu lạc bộ đấu tay đôi câu lạc bộ (俱樂部) = 'club'.
đấu () = 'fight, battle against'.
tay đôi = 'two (together)'
The Duelling Club
Mongolian (previous)
Халз тулааны клуб
Khalz tulaanii klüb
халз тулаан khalz tulaan = 'frontal fight' = 'duel' ( -ii Genitive form).
клуб klüb = 'club'.
The Duelling Club
Mongolian (new)
Халз тулааны клуб
Khalz tulaanii klüb
халз тулаан khalz tulaan = 'frontal fight' = 'duel' ( -ii Genitive form).
клуб klüb = 'club'.
The Duelling Club

The duelling club at Hogwarts was first set up by Gilderoy Lockhart to teach students how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts.

How is 'duel' translated?

A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules (Wikipedia). A duel usually requires the presence of witnesses. According to Etymology Online, the word 'duel' is originally from Latin duellum, an old form of bellum 'war'. It was later reinterpreted as being from Latin duo 'two' and applied to combat between two persons. Such combat was common in the Western world in the early modern period.

How is 'club' translated?

Despite being established under the auspices of a member of school staff, it would appear to fall under the general category of what we would call school clubs and societies. Only a couple of other extracurricular clubs are mentioned in the Harry Potter books, namely a Gobstones club and a Charms club. Others appear in movies and games (see Harry Potter Wiki's Clubs page.) The Slug Club is more of an exclusive member's club.

In English, the use of 'club' for associations of people dedicated to a particular interest or activity dates back to the 17th century (see Etymology Online). It appears to have evolved from the concept of people gathered in a 'club-like mass'.

The concept and the word spread to other European countries and languages as early as the 18th century, from France right across to Russia.

Clubs were brought to East Asia in the 19th century by European colonialists. In Japan, the earliest foreign club was established in 1863, followed very quickly by the first Japanese club in 1872. In accordance with the fashion of the time, Chinese characters were used to represent the foreign word 'club', first 苦楽部 (bitterness + pleasure + section), later 俱楽部 (together + pleasure + section). Theoretically 俱楽部 should be read gu-raku-bu but due to the way that characters were historically adopted into Japanese, the language has always been fairly tolerant of a looser relationship between characters and their readings. The pronunciation of the word appears to have always been kurabu. Nowadays it is usually written in katakana as クラブ.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there was considerable linguistic interchange within East Asia, and 俱楽部 was borrowed from Japanese into other languages of the Sinosphere. It was at one time used in Korea, read as 구락부 gu-lag-bu, but this has largely fallen out of use, except for retro establishments or those directed at Japanese customers. Korean now uses 클럽 keulleob, which is modelled directly on English.

In Chinese, on the other hand, 俱樂部 (Trad.) / 俱乐部 (Simpl.) jùlèbù has become the standard form and is still in wide use, even though the pronunciation is virtually unidentifiable to an English speaker.

From Chinese the term made its way into Vietnamese, where it was read as câu lạc bộ based on the Vietnamese reading of the characters 俱樂部. Vietnamese no longer uses Chinese characters but this old reading still lives on.

The word 'club' originally came into Mongolian via Russian, not Japanese or Chinese, and is still spelt the Russian way as клуб klub, even though it is pronounced as though it were spelt клүб klüb. The traditional Mongolian script uses the letter , which signals ü rather than u. (Note that ü in our transcription does not represent the German umlauted u. In standard Mongolian it can be understood as something like English 'u', although German 'u', French 'ou', or Spanish 'u' might be a closer fit. The Mongolian sound written as u here is pronounced more like 'aw' in British English.)

As in English, words for 'club' cover a broad range of organisations, from exclusive member's clubs to sports clubs to night clubs, not all of which are even clubs in the traditional sense.

The borrowed word for 'club' is used for school clubs and societies in some of our languages.

Languages in which words related to English 'club' are not used or not commonly used for high school clubs are Chinese, Korean, and Mongolian:

(Korean appears thanks to "Hiro".)

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

Chapter 10
Back to Top