Mystery bigram sighting

Anyone know 黛二, dài èr?

黛 itself isn’t that common. Maybe you know it from 黛绿, which the ABC Dictionary has as

dàilǜ attr. dark green ◆ id. beauty in full dress

That’s the only two-syllable word containing 黛 that I find in any dictionary, although it does appear in some foreign names, e.g. 史黛西 (Shǐdàixī) for Stacy. But I find nothing with 二. So why has 黛 hooked up with 二 in Jun Da’s corpus of “general fiction”, to compose bigram #1427 in frequency, the mysterious “黛二”?

Yes, I know it doesn’t matter. Yes, I know the Jun Da corpus has all sorts of limitations, and you often find oddball names and bits of party slogans in the bigram analysis at ridiculously high frequencies (e.g. the corpus also has the bigram 方怡, who Google images seems to indicate is a glamorous person I probably should’ve heard of).

But usually I can at least figure out why the bigram exists. Not so for 黛二. Is it a name, maybe a name from a different language? (That’s my daughter’s guess — you can only imagine what it’s like to be a ten-year-old whose father takes away from homework time to talk about corpora). A mistake?

It’s not as if #1427 is rarefied atmosphere for bigrams. 黛二 is preceded by 开车 (kāichē = drive a car) at #1426.

Any ideas, short of digging into Jun Da’s corpus itself?

Ngram this! — The 中文 Ngram challenge

Original title: The most fun you can have (legally) on a Saturday night in Beijing outside the fifth ring

If you haven’t already seen what Google has come up with…

Google Labs - Books Ngram Viewer

…then you’re probably in danger of becoming an offline recluse who lives in Beijing exurbia and considers “social interaction” giving a nod to the elderly gentleman who walks by every morning as you exercise at 5:30am.

But if you’ve got that problem, then why not submit your favorite Ngram sets in the comments and win the Ngram challenge! (Award amount to be announced as soon as sponsor is finalized) Continue…

么 or 吗, that is the question

First, an aside:

It’s bad enough when you catch yourself using the jargon you used to scorn, like in that business meeting where, in the heat of the moment, you come up with, “Right! And there will be great synergy between their brand name and our back-office capabilities.”


But how do you feel when even your jargon is outdated? Today I was just about to pose a question like this:

Is the choice of 吗 or 么 — to write Mandarin’s yes-no question particle “ma” — a register issue? Continue…