?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

if you ever write stories set in the recent past, you are in luck! Some Harvard researchers and Google have created a website that lets you enter words or phrases and see how often they have been used in print over the last two centuries. The tool is called an Ngram Viewer, and it's available for several languages. The Teleread blog has a good assessment of the tool's limitations, but it's still a neat thing.

For example if you're writing a time travel novel, and you want your 19th Century natives to sound different from you contemporary time travellers, one thing you can do is look up greetings like “Hello” and “Good morning” to see when those terms were most common. It's also handy for concepts that change over time; I tried searching on mental illness, madness, insanity, and dementia, and could instantly see which terms were popular and when. Ditto slang like okay, groovy, and douchebag. You can also check not-quite-correct usage like “alright” and see that that spelling was not seen before 1960.

In fact, the 1960s seem to have been a pivotal year for a lot of things. Try searching on some dirty words and you'll see what I mean. Go ahead and have some fun! It's free.

And don't say I never gave you anything. -)


freehit counter




free
hit counter


Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
tracy_d74
Dec. 22nd, 2010 05:57 am (UTC)
This is very cool. I will have to mark it in my favorites. THANKS!!
karen_w_newton
Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!
peadarog
Dec. 22nd, 2010 11:09 am (UTC)
I had fun with it looking up various names.
karen_w_newton
Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
I never thought of names, but that's a great use for it! I'll have to try that.
bogwitch64
Dec. 22nd, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Cool! Thank you, Writer-Santa!
karen_w_newton
Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, writer person!
misha_mcg
Dec. 22nd, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
That's so useful! I'm told I sometimes slip into language that is too modern. Thanks!
karen_w_newton
Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
No problem! Happy to share!
jongibbs
Dec. 22nd, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a useful tool, Karen. Thanks for sharing :)
karen_w_newton
Dec. 22nd, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
It's nice for ME to give YOU a useful link for a change! You've given me so many.
sallymn
Jan. 7th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Here from jongibbs' lj...
Just so say thanks - that is so cool!!!
karen_w_newton
Jan. 8th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
Re: Here from jongibbs' lj...
You're welcome!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

June 2016
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow