Scholarship and education

The year 2006, baby names, and surname ranks

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National Language Resource Monitoring & Research Center (Network Media), and the Commercial Press have issued a "Chinese Language Inventory 2006" that sums up all of last year in four words. Here's the list, with a translation by People's Daily Online translation of some of the expert commentary:
  • 炒 chǎo - to fry. Used in 炒作 (hype, sensationalize), 炒鱿鱼 (fire from a job), 炒老板 (walk out), 炒股 (play the stock market), 炒基金 (speculate in funds), 炒房 (speculate in real estate). The world is like a big cooking pan "turning and tossing cold things until they become warm and then hot. Daily trivialities are 'fried' into news and common people are made into stars; expectations can be 'fried' into reality and ideals into bubbles - after all, the key issue is to maintain the right temperature."
  • 和谐 héxié - harmonious. The ubiquitous government buzzword.
  • 乱 luàn - disturbance. "The year 2006 was a year of global disturbances - the world was disturbed by growing nuclear threats; the seasons were disturbed by global warming; the mind was disturbed by ever escalating ethnic conflicts. Both the eyes and hearts were disturbed as powers wrestled secretly with one another and the Middle East spent another year in disorder. Disturbance describes chaos in the world, but also highlights diversity in politics, culture, values and interests. Beneath the surface is also vigor and vitality."
  • 石油 shíyóu - oil.

Also, a Mirror survey of 180 expectant mothers and data on 2600 babies born between Feburary and April found that 子 was the most commonly-used character in boys' names, while 雨 is most popular for girls. The full chart:

· Boys: 子、宇、睿、浩、博、天、泽、昊
· Girls: 雨、嘉、涵、欣、琪、萱、婷、蕊

Most children - 88% - had three-character names. The survey also found a few children with four-character names, only half of whom had traditional two-character surnames or non-Han transcriptions - the others were given the surnames of both their parents in addition to a two-character given name.

In related news, a report from Xinhua says that Wang (王) is now the most common surname in China, at 7.25% of the population. It surpasses Li (李), which drops from 7.4% to 7.19% in a new Ministry of Public Security inventory of household registrations. Zhang (张) is third at 6.83%.

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There are currently 3 Comments for The year 2006, baby names, and surname ranks.

Comments on The year 2006, baby names, and surname ranks

So world wide is Wang the most common last name now? I remember reading many years ago it was Chang (Zhang) now that seems to be number three in the mainland.

> The survey also found a few children with four-character
> names... the surnames of both their parents

Hehe, that's what we're doing with our kid. I swear we thought of it before we saw this article.

We'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Micah, unless you use any of those top-ranked characters in your kid's given name.

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