Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Chapter 8: The Potions Teacher
Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese characters are shown in parentheses.
药 yào = 'medicine'.
课 kè = 'subject'.
老师 lǎoshī = 'teacher'.
|The magic medicines lesson teacher|
藥 yào = 'medicine'.
學 xué = 'study' or '-ology'.
老師 lǎo-shī = 'teacher'.
|The magic medicine-ology teacher|
Mahō-yaku no sensei
|魔法 mahō = 'magic'.
薬 yaku = 'medicine'.
の no = connecting particle
先生 sensei = 'teacher'
|The magic medicine teacher|
|Vietnamese||Bậc thầy độc dược||bậc thầy
= master (thầy =
độc (毒) = 'poison'.
dược (藥) = 'medicine'.
|The poison medicine master|
The Potions teacher is, of course, Professor Snape. The English back-translations here are a bit clumsy so as to bring out the differences in expression.
魔药 / 魔藥 móyào (Chinese) and 魔法薬 mahō-yaku (Japanese) both simply mean 'magic medicine'. The Vietnamese translates 'potion' as độc dược meaning 'poison medicine'. This is not actually a 'poison medicine', rather it means something with medicinal properties that happens to contain poisonous ingredients.
Incidentally, yào, yaku, and dược (pronounced 'yuoc' or 'zuoc') all trace back to the same Chinese word 藥. What is interesting is that the final 'k' sound has been lost in modern Chinese (Mandarin), but is still retained in Japanese and Vietnamese, as well as Chinese dialects such as Cantonese. The character 藥 is the original Chinese character, simplified differently in Japan (薬) and Mainland China (药).
The word 先生 sensei means 'teacher' in Japanese. (In Chinese, 先生 xiān-sheng means 'Mr' or 'husband'). The Vietnamese thầy is the usual term of address for a teacher.