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My best guess at this point is that this means "you definitely can't escape".

The English translation (which I've learned to take with a grain of salt) translates it as "Don't run off!"

In context, the addressee clearly is running away.

My understanding is that じゃん is a contraction of じゃない but has a meaning of its own. This comes mainly from Tae Kim's guide here:

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/slang

Where he writes:

Though derived from 「じゃない」, 「じゃん」 is always used to confirm the positive.

...

Hopefully, you can see that 「じゃん」 is basically saying something along the lines of, “See, I’m right, aren’t I?”

The proposed “See, I’m right, aren’t I?” translation of じゃん doesn't seem to fit very well here as far as translating this into a natural sounding English translation, which gave me some doubt. But I'm thinking it can carry a sense of "definitely" or "absolutely" instead. Grammatically, it's a rhetorical question in Japanese, but it doesn't translate to a rhetorical question in English.

Actually, writing this question made me more confident about this (and I changed my mind half way through), but can anyone confirm?

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I would translate it as "No need to run away, right?"

Does the "no need" part come from ことない?

Yes.

Can verb+ことない by itself have that meaning

I would say verb+ことない has the connotation "there's no need to + verb".

the じゃん part, in addition to adding the "right?"

じゃん is a colloquialism for "ではないか” (= isn't it?.)

All in all I would utter the expression to convey that I am dissatisfied with someone's escapism.

  • Does the "no need" part come from ことない? Can verb+ことない by itself have that meaning or does the じゃん part, in addition to adding the "right?" question tag, contribute some part of the "no need" also? I was interpreting ことない here as "cannot do". – Aurast Jun 20 '15 at 3:13
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    What do you mean by "(it) is not to + verb"? verb+ことない simply means "there is no need to + verb" --at least for all the examples I can think of right now. – Will Jun 21 '15 at 14:17
  • @ Will: You are right. i will modify my answer. Thanks for pointing out. – eltonjohn Jun 21 '15 at 14:19
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Perhaps you could think of it like "The event that you will run away doesn't exist." The "じゃん" is simply rhetorical and doesn't negate the meaning or anything like that. Now, I found the expression 逃げることなく on thesaurus.weblio.jp, and upon inspection of synonym expressions, it simply means "without running away". If you wanted a more English sounding translation, maybe you could go for something like "There won't be any running away will there." Also, having a context for this (i.e. the situation, who said it, to whom, etc) would help.

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