Humour Through HistoryPosted by Antonia
Have you ever wondered about the prevalence of a word in publications throughout history? Maybe not, but Google’s new ngram viewer tool is the perfect educational time-waster. Type in any word or phrase and Google will search through 5 million books published from 1550 to today and graph the instances that that word or phrase has appeared through time.
Of course, it has its deficiencies, like the fact that the number of books published from 1550 to today has undoubtedly increased substantially, and we now have a larger pool of recent books to analyze. This will skew results. Additionally we have to bear in mind that certain words, although prevalent in the past, had definitions that have since evolved. Be that as it may, here’s a nice graph of “funny” since 1650. We were clearly more “humourous” in the past, but this could be for medical reasons rather than funny ones.