[Corpora-List] the ebb and flow of inclusion of words in OED?

John F. Sowa sowa at bestweb.net
Tue Apr 26 15:51:26 CEST 2011


On 4/25/2011 5:12 PM, chris brew wrote:
> I think part of the 1600 bump must correspond to William Shakespeare
> (1564-1616, first folio published 1623, second folio published 1632)
> and that a corresponding bump from 1380-1400 corresponds to Chaucer (you
> have to set the granularity to 10 years to see it clearly)
>
> Something else happened in the 1650-1659 decade. I have a plausible
> hypothesis but no more...

Those are interesting hypotheses about the effects of literature and the methods of recording, distribution, and preservation.

Some of those effects are probably distorted by historical accidents of loss and preservation. But the decisions of editors about which sources to consider would also influence the results.

Ted Pedersen:
> ... there are local peaks around the years 1400, 1600, and 1900,
> with valleys around 1500, 1750, and the present day.

I can't believe that the present day with the huge expansion of the WWW is a true valley. And the valley around 1750 was a period of active colonization that may have produced many words that weren't recorded in the OED sources.

It would be interesting to to do a more detailed study of word creation and disuse by going back to the original documents, when more of them become digitized.

John Sowa



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