What Our Words Tell Us – David Brooks

This was a thought provoking column by New York Times columnist David Brooks.

He looks at some analysis of Google Books:   “About two years ago, the folks at Google released a database of 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008. You can type a search word into the database and find out how frequently different words were used at different epochs.

The database doesn’t tell you how the words were used; it just tells you how frequently they were used. Still, results can reveal interesting cultural shifts. For example, somebody typed the word “cocaine” into the search engine and found that the word was surprisingly common in the Victorian era. Then it gradually declined during the 20th century until around 1970, when usage skyrocketed.

The tips he points out for Conservatives and Liberals seem right on to me.

Readers’ Comments

“From 1800 to 2013, the word ‘family’ had a fairly stable use until it began a subtle and slow decline from the Civil War until it reached a low near the end of World War I. It suddenly grew in popularity in the mid-1960s and peaked in the mid-1990s.”

flaminia, Los Angeles, CA

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About Tom Bolton

I'm a Husband and Dad, an Enterprise Systems Analyst at the City of Milwaukee, and a Disciple and Lay Servant at First United Methodist of West Allis. I love working beside young people. As I study the Bible, sometimes I feel moved to work through my understanding by writing poetry. I also am going through a process to discern my calling, and to learn more about Christian Leadership. Sometimes I just feel like writing about something that grabs my attention too.
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One Response to What Our Words Tell Us – David Brooks

  1. Pingback: Flashback: Caller To C-Span Asks David Brooks for Help in Bringing Down Obama – YouTube « danielBpatton.com

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