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Street Talk: Kaopu

The next time someone attempts to persuade you that aliens have invaded...

12·20·2010

The next time someone attempts to persuade you that aliens have invaded Earth or President Obama had surgery to remove an extra pinkie, you can tell them, “你这个人不靠谱” (Nǐ zhège rén bù kàopǔ). Or in other words, “You’re so ridiculous!”

Tossing out kaopu, or its negative, bu kaopu, to describe people, objects or situations is all the rage among Beijing’s slang slingers. If you call something kaopu, you’re saying that it is reliable or authentic.

Now, a friend estimates that it might take an hour to fight your way through Beijing’s ugly traffic. “Kaopu, it seems likely.” you say, agreeing this seems like a valid guess (靠谱,好像是这样。Kào pǔ, hǎoxiàng shì zhèyàng.). Indeed, the “kaopu-bility” (靠谱度 kàopǔdù) of this assertion is quite strong.

As slang normally goes, Beijing’s youth appears more in command of the expression.  While the older folks will catch your drift, they might also have a chuckle over this unfamiliar pairing of characters. In their case, “可靠” (Kěkào) would be the more refined alternative for this term. – C.B.

 

More slang, coming your way. Courtesy of the letter A.

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