Google NGram Viewer Could Make Research Easy – Also Zombies Are on the Rise
Sometimes there’s a perk to being a grammar nerd. I recently came across the New York Time opinion article called A Matter of Fashion. Basically, the author is making a point that English grammar rules, like clothing, go in and out of fashion. (Tell that to your English teacher.)
The inconsistency of grammar aside, the article highlighted a totally awesome Google tool as well. NGram is a word search tool that digs through Google Book’s large database of text. By typing in a word or phrase and providing a range of years, you can search through Lots of Books in seconds. This can be incredibly useful for showing that, since the 1800s, the word ‘builded‘ has increasingly gone out of fashion. Or for showing that there was a sharp rise in books talking about ‘Sumatra earthquake‘ after the devastating earthquake in 2004. Better still, if you’re writing a paper on the Sumatra earthquake, you could click on the year ‘2006‘ or ‘2007‘ and get previewed clips of books published about that earthquake in those respective years. It is a great way to get a lot of additional book resources for research papers.
And, of course, it is also fun to just play around with. Did you know that vampires have been popping up in books since the mid-eighteenth century? And that there’s been a dramatic rise in zombies in books during the last decade? It’s all true. Check out NGram to find out more!