R Blog of the Month: Prochronisms

By | July 8, 2013

A vistor of the blog and ‘all round stack overflow good guy’ Ben Marwick pointed me in the direction of the fantastic blog: Prochronisms. or: Downton Crabbey. Using TV anachronisms to learn about changes in language, and trying to avoid complete curmudgeonhood in the process. From what I can gather Ben Schmidt takes scripts of modern TV shows based in historical setting and then compares the use of language to that in  Google Ngram database of books.

While the blog is humorous and the idea itself is light hearted it turns out there is a lot to be learnt about the change in English language over the past 100 years or so. I have not had time to read all the posts in details, but my early favourite is get off the phone

I’d love to play with the Google Ngram database myself and will be having a poke around it some time. There appears to be some code on his other site, sapping attention. I am wondering how he queries such a big database, I might ask him…

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