Grandma’s gonna murder me if she finds out

[update: followup post here]

Help! I’ve got a word to research that’s defying the dictionaries installed on my Pleco as well as my 老北京 backup resource.

Scene: my 10-yr-old daughter is doing her homework. She giggles and says:

Yàoshi bù xiě zuòyè wǒ huì gěrpì
要是不写作业我会 gěrpì

Me: gěrpì?!

She translates it as “If I don’t do my homework I’m going to get killed — but gěrpì is kind of a funny way, a kid’s way of saying ‘killed’.”

Long ago I seem to recall blogging about words that are hard to look up because of rhoticization (儿化音). Maybe that’s part of the problem here, or maybe it’s just user error, but we looked around a bit and couldn’t find gěrpì. She went back to her homework and I started towards her grandmother’s room to inquire further.

“OH no no no, Daddy, don’t ask Grandma,” she stage-whispers. “She wouldn’t really like this word, especially if she found out you learned it from me.”

With that in mind, I had her make up another sentence:

Yàoshi Lǎolǎo fāxiàn de huà wǒ huì gěrpì de.
Grandma’s going to murder me if she finds out.

So there you have it, a word she claims all her classmates use, whose appropriateness with the older generation is suspect (like saying “fart” around your grandmother who can’t even bring herself to say “pass gas”?). Anyone have a clue about how it’s written, etymology, 等?

8 responses to “Grandma’s gonna murder me if she finds out”

  1. Jeroen says:

    From Wenlin:

    嗝儿屁[-兒-] gěrpì v.o. 〈slang〉 die; be dead

  2. Syz says:

    Jeroen: wow that was fast, thanks. My daughter says, “Hmm, interesting,” in a not-at-all sarcastic fashion.

    But now to my technical incompetence… How did you extract that from Wenlin? I actually have Wenlin. I’d tried doing a search for “gerpi” and got this:
    * 0 entries containing “gerpi”.
    * 33.181000 seconds elapsed.

    Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

  3. julen says:

    Nice story Syz, but the question is too easy! It took me around 10 sec to look ot up in the pleco ABC and post it right away on the phone:

    V.O. die; be dead

    Apparently is the same def as wenlin. I just searched pinyin gerpi

  4. julen says:

    U can also try this:

    gěrpì zháoliáng
    V.O. die

    etymology: from ass belching, something people do when they die. (wonky)

  5. Jeroen says:

    Yes, type “gerpi” in Wenlin, hit “convert” and voila :-)

    Someone here in the know says this expression went out of fashion ten years ago though.

  6. Syz says:

    OK, more red-faced by the second. Here’s what I offer in my defense for not being able to look it up:
    1. when I tried pleco, I tried it without erhuayin, thinking surely they wouldn’t have it in the dictionary that way
    2. Wenlin, even the new version I’m using, has an interface only a mother could love. Convert? I guess in retrospect it’s obvious I should have used that instead of “search”, but…

    Anyway, thanks much for the help.

    Julen: Interesting about the whole “ass belching” thing — sounds like something right out of a 王小波 novel. I think my daughter’s intuition about not asking Grandma for clarification — that was right on.

    Jeroen: Out of fashion is interesting too. Apparently it’s stuck around with the pre-teen set here in Beijing. What’s your city of “in-the-know” reference?

  7. Brendan says:

    I’ve definitely heard 嗝兒屁著涼 from local sources of varying ages and degrees of trendiness in Beijing, albeit (IIRC) always in joking contexts.

  8. Syz says:

    Brendan, nice to have confirmation of sightings in the wild.

    but damn i’m old. had to go to urban dictionary for iirc

    @all who are still following this thread:
    coming back to this post reminded me i should fix up the title. My first attempt is in this new post: “If grandma finds out, I’m an ass belch.” Better ideas?

Leave a Reply