Chapter 9: A Place to Hide

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
藏身 cángshēn = 'conceal body' = 'to hide'.
zhī = connecting particle
chù = 'place'.
A place to hide
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
藏身 cángshēn = 'conceal body' = 'to hide'.
zhī = connecting particle
chù = 'place'.
A place to hide
隠れ kakure = 'hiding', from the verb 隠れる kakureru 'to hide (oneself)'.
-ya = 'house'.
House of hiding
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Một nơi để trốn một = 'one, a'.
nơi = 'place'.
để = 'in order to'.
trốn = 'hide'.
A place to hide

'A place to hide' is a simple construction in English following the pattern 'noun + to + verb'. Semantically, the noun is the direct or indirect object of the verb. The meaning is that the noun is available for the purpose expressed by the verb. For example:

There are obviously ways to express this in other languages, but it's a bit much to expect that they will be a complete match for English.

The Vietnamese version comes closest to a direct translation of the English. In order to translate 'to', the translation uses để 'in order to'. Vietnamese is also able to preserve the order of the English: Một ('a') nơi ('place') để ('to') trốn ('hide').

Chinese has a pattern similar to English, e.g. 有飯吃 / 有饭吃 Yǒu fàn chī (literally 'have food eat') — 'There is food to eat'. That could be used in a sentence like 有地方藏身 Yǒu dìfang cángshēn, literally 'Have place hide'. Unfortunately, that doesn't work in a stand-alone 'noun + verb' combination. 地方藏身 dìfang cángshēn is simply not an intelligible chapter title. The only way this can be expressed in Chinese is to make hide into an attributive form. The usual way to do this is use the particle de: 藏身的地方 cángshēn de dìfang 'hiding place'. This, however, is rather lacking in elegance, which is why both Mainland and Taiwanese translators turn to the more literary 之處 / 之处 -zhīchù ('place of') word pattern. This expresses the meaning of 'a place for something' in a considerably more elegant manner.

Japanese does not have an expression truly equivalent to 'noun + to + verb'. The natural way of expressing this would be just 'verb + noun'. 'Something to eat' is simply 食べるもの taberu mono (literally 'eat thing'). But this pattern is vaguer in meaning and broader in usage than the 'noun + to + verb' construction, and is not confined to nouns used as a direct or indirect object. For instance, 行く人 iku hito (literally 'go person') is the normal expression for 'a person who is going' or 'a person who wants to go'.

For 'a place to hide', 隠れるところ kakureru tokoro ('hide + place') or 隠れる場所 kakureru basho ('hide + place') would indeed be possible. But this construction is altogether too pedestrian and ordinary to be used as a chapter title. That is why the translator has chosen the word 隠れ家 kakure-ya, a specific expression meaning 'a house of hiding'.

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

Chapter 8
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