Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Google's Ngram Viewer

Recently watched the following TED talk: "What we learned from 5 million books"

So I did a few searches, and these are my results:
  • fact vs. fiction: fact occurs much more often, but has taken a decidedly sharp down turn since the early 1970s. Also, fiction is on the rise.
  • happy vs. sad: happy is on a serious decline. It bottomed out in the mid-late 1980s (a little cold war scare anyone?), but does seem to be on the rise again. Sad rose to a height in the late 1860s, but has been on the decline, except for a small rise in the late 1920s, ever since.
  • ain't vs. isn't: these two words have an interesting relationship. there was a time just before 1900 that ain't was more prevalent. Then rightfully so isn't was used more often. Then just after 1940 they both enjoyed a wild spike in usage and both shared a huge dip in usage in the early 1960s. Also ain't remains in print, isn't has spiked beyond its 1940 era boom - thankfully.
  • yes vs. no: is a most interesting graph. It seems that yes has never had much ground, and no was very famous. However no has been steadly decreasing since a peak around 1840.
  • pencil vs. pen: it looks that the pen has had the upper hand for two hundred years, but both are in a steady decline.
  • disco vs. funk: beginning in 1970 funk began in the lead and then there was a crutial tipping point in 1976 and disco soared while funk stagnated. However, funk enjoyed a resurgance in the 1990s, but by the time 1999 rolled around it was on the down beat again.
And contentious for grammarians is it email or e-mail ?? From 1980 - 2000 there has been a steady increase in the use of email!! yea, I win!

The homepage is - go explore.