What’s your IQ?

April Fools’ Day is called 愚人节 (yúrén jié). (jié) stands for a holiday or a festival. 愚人 (yúrén) is the abbreviation of 愚笨的人 (yúbèn de rén), which means a foolish person, or a fool.

愚蠢 (yúchǔn), 愚笨 (yúbèn) and (bèn) all mean stupid or foolish.
(dāi) means dim-witted or wooden-headed.
(shǎ) means stupid or muddle-headed.

Therefore, there are a few additional ways of saying “a fool”.

傻子 (shǎzi) A foolish person.
呆子 (dāizi) A dim-witted person.
傻瓜 (shǎguā) A foolish melon.
笨瓜 (bènguā) A stupid melon.
呆瓜 (dāiguā) A dim-witted melon (a wooden head).
笨蛋 (bèndàn) A stupid egg.

You can tell from the above examples that the Chinese don’t hold melons and eggs in high esteem. While a parent may say “小傻瓜 (xiǎo shǎguā little fool)”, to his or her own child in an endearing way, please don’t call anyone a melon or, worse, an egg.

Of course, all of us want to be regarded as being intelligent and smart.

聪明 (cōngmíng) means intelligent or sharp.
伶俐 (línglì) means clever or quick-witted
头脑好 (tóunǎo hǎo) means to have (good) brains.
脑筋好 (nǎojīn hǎo) means to have a good mind.
有智慧 (yǒu zhìhuì) means to possess wisdom.

Correspondingly, you may refer to a bright person as follows:

聪明的人 (cōngmíng de rén) An intelligent person.
伶俐的人 (línglì de rén) A clever or quick-witted person.
头脑好的人 (tóunǎo hǎo de rén) A smart person.
脑筋好的人 (nǎojīn hǎo de rén) An intelligent person.
有智慧的人 (yǒu zhìhuì de rén) A wise person.
智者 (zhì zhě) A sage. The word is a formal word used to refer to a person.

The Chinese word for IQ, the Intelligence Quotient, is 智商 (zhìshāng). I believe that, whatever IQ you start with, the process of learning a new skill, such as a foreign language, will add a few points to your malleable intelligence and education quotient.

Now let’s fit some of the above words into a couple simple sentence patterns.

I. Someone or something + a description

Tā cōngmíng.
He is intelligent.
Wǒ de xiǎohái nǎojīn hǎo.
My child is bright.

II. Someone or something + be + optional description + someone or something

Shéi shì nĭ de xīn shàng rén?
Who’s your sweetheart?

Tā shì yī gè fùqin.
He is a father.
Tā shì yī gè yǒu zhìhuì de rén.
He is a wise person

Nĭ shì yī gè cōngmíng de rén.
You are a smart person.

Pòhuài huánjìng shì yúchǔn de xíngwéi.
Damaging the environment is a foolish action.

破坏 Pòhuàimeans to damage or to destroy.
环境 (huánjìng) is the environment.
行为 (xíngwéi) means action or behavior.

Often, 一个 (yī gè) is shorted to (gè), as in:
Nĭ shì gè cōngmíng de rén.
You are a smart person.

As an exercise, please make a sentence that says, “He is happy.” Also make a sentence that says, “My wife is a quick-witted woman.”

While it’s not so easy to write or input the Chinese words, you could make sentences by looking for the needed Chinese characters in my current and previous posts then copying and pasting them into Windows Notepad. Use the Save As function to save the text file in the UTF-8 format so the Chinese characters will display properly when you open the file later.

By the way, if you’re inclined to play an April Fools’ joke on someone, be sure to say this afterwards:
Wǒ zhǐshì kāi ge wánxiào de.
I’m only joking.

Hopefully, you will get this gracious response:
No problem. (That’s all right.)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. rolling piggy
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 21:34:07

    Hahaha, I love your comment of “You can tell from the above examples that the Chinese don’t hold melons and eggs in high esteem”! I never thought about it that way but that’s so true!


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