Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Google Ngram Viewer

First, a tiny bit of trivia: I received my 100th follower today.  Thank you all so much for reading!

And second, a large bit of fun: Google's Ngram Viewer.  The Ngram viewer shows how often words have appeared in books in the last several hundred years.  For example, if you type the word "Oregon" into the Ngram search box, you can see that Oregon was really popular in the late 1800s and, for some reason I don't understand, in the 1940s.  If you type in a word that did not exist some time ago, the word tends to have quite an upswing ("Pakistan" and "Internet" come to mind).  Capitalization is important, so be careful with words when you search.

You can watch a short (~5min) video about the project on TED's site.

Here are a few that I found to be interesting graphs:

thee, thy, thou (and what's with the uptick in the last few years?!)

first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth (not sure what was happening in the 1700s...)

radio, phone, Internet, network

toilet, bathroom, shower (the trend in the '60s and '70s scares me)

What other interesting timelines can you find?

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