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.
Josh Haner/The New York Times
“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
- David Brooks, E.J. Dionne bring debate show to Milwaukee (jsonline.com)