Internet Find of the Week

News for the Week of October 22, 2012

History of Words

Do you like words? Have you ever wondered when the word lackadaisical first appeared in the written text? For those of us who have wondered, our good friends at Google have come to the rescue.

The Google Library Project began in 2004. As of March 2012, Google reported it had scanned some 20 million books. Just in case you're curious, Google's Elphel camera can scan 1,000 pages per hour. Impressive.

So, what does this have to do with the history of words? The 20 million books that Google has scanned are all books that are out of print and in the public domain. Think back to Mr. Bowtie, and you will remember how old that makes these books. These books date back to the 1500's.

With all these books digitized, Google created the Google Ngram Viewer which allows you to research the usage of a words over time.

TED Talk -- What We Learned from 5 Million Books

If you're not familiar with TED, I would encourage you to take a look. According to TED's web site, TED Talks are "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world". Below is a TED Talk on the Google Ngram Viewer. Take 14 minutes and enjoy the video below. It is fascinating.
What we learned from 5 million books


The Google Ngram Viewer is where language and history collide. Check out this web site to see examples of a few Ngrams -- Fun with Google Ngrams

Additional Reading

If you need one more article about the Google Ngram Viewer, here it is. Enjoy!

Bigger, Better Google Ngrams: Brace Yourself for the Power of Grammar