Teacher Beth
Professional Teacher
Question about the more cultural aspect of the words 书迷 and 书呆子 The English word bookworm, I have found these two words in Chinese 书迷 and 书呆子. Now I have often been called and have called friends bookworms, however this has never been meant in a derogatory way or used as a real insult ( though it could be I guess) I do love to read, that is a fact, I am a bookworm lol, I love reading fiction or non fiction, However I am thinking that maybe calling someone or yourself 书呆子 is not a good thing and is more of an insult because a 呆子 is an idiot right? I should call myself and my bookwormish friends 书迷 instead yes? How do you use these words, would you ever call yourself or someone 书呆子 and it be o.k, a joke etc?
Apr 15, 2011 9:08 PM
Answers · 8
It is true that " 呆子" means an idiot or a fool. 他 真 是 个 呆 子 ! He is such a fool However 书呆子 means " bookworm" and in that sense it isn't in a derogatory way. In fact you can compare that with the English 'bookworm' in that the word 'worm' on its own ,if used to refer to someone is derogatory and indicates a nasty or unethical character, while when joined with 'book' in this particular expression 'bookworm' it is rather a positive trait. The same goes here for the Chinese 书呆子'book idiot' or 'bookish fool'. However 书呆子 could also have a negative connotation when it indicates a person who relies too much on academic learning or who is concerned chiefly with insignificant detail , in the sense of a pedant. On the other hand 书迷 means when one is crazy about books, obsessed with reading,enthusiastic about it. This one is more of a positive sense all the way.
April 15, 2011
书呆子 is used more than 书迷 in daily life. But in books or papers, 书迷 is more used. Generally speaking, they are all commendotary terms. Then 书迷 is more commendotary.
April 16, 2011
i think you should realized language environment when you hear or say "书呆子"and"书迷",it's easy to see what's meaning they say the two words in chinese dictionary or daily laguage.
April 16, 2011
the word 书迷means people that are very interest in reading books,or indulge in reading books ,I think the meanig is much wider than the word"书呆子",it is a generalized word,then the word"书呆子”means that people study for books,and lack of practical,may be all are right from books!The word means that people are very stiff!And when put the knowledge into practice,they consider that all the practical must obey the books!That's the difference between them!Do u agree? Hahahahaha!
April 16, 2011
yeah, 书呆子 is derogatory and satirical in Chinese, but sometimes we'll describe someone using this word just for banter, its depends on the circumstance, so when you use it to call your friends you should make sure that your friends can understand your banter, and I believe people who called you 书呆子 were actually expressing their admiration for your reading. I think if someone call hinself 书呆子, its more interesting and humorous than using 书迷, because 书迷 is more formal.
April 16, 2011
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Teacher Beth
Language Skills
Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German
Learning Language
Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German