history of our words

Language changes. For example, child care is more fashionable than nursery school.

Although there are only about 500,000 books published in English before the 19th century, Google has launched a database of 500 billion words contained in 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008 — a sequence of letters that is one thousand times longer than the human genome.

The corpus cannot be read by a human.

If you tried to read only the entries from the year 2000 alone, at the reasonable pace of 200 words per minute, without interruptions for food or sleep, it would take eighty years.

Play with Google’s new “Books Ngram Viewer” yourself.

Yes, language changes. Google’s discovered usage of Carlin’s seven dirty words from 1650 to 2000.