[Corpora-List] Diachronic frequency change

Mark Davies Mark_Davies at byu.edu
Mon May 14 19:37:24 CEST 2012

My question re. Google Books data is how you can even compare A vs B in the first place. After all, with the standard Google Books interface, the frequency charts are just "pictures". There are no actual numbers to plug into a spreadsheet. So how do you compare one "picture" to another, decade by decade?

With http://googlebooks.byu.edu/ (or the 400 million word COHA: http://corpus.byu.edu/coha/), on the other hand, you do have access the frequency, decade by decade. For more info, see http://googlebooks.byu.edu/compare-googleBooks.asp.

Mark D.

============================================ Mark Davies Professor of Linguistics / Brigham Young University http://davies-linguistics.byu.edu/

** Corpus design and use // Linguistic databases ** ** Historical linguistics // Language variation ** ** English, Spanish, and Portuguese ** ============================================

________________________________________ From: corpora-bounces at uib.no [corpora-bounces at uib.no] on behalf of Brett Reynolds [brettrey at gmail.com] Sent: Friday, May 11, 2012 7:27 AM To: Corpora List Subject: [Corpora-List] Diachronic frequency change

The string "all of the", for example, demonstrates a dramatic increase in frequency as a percentage of the entire corpus leading up to about 1920 as can be seen in this Google Ngram graph:


Since this is a percentage, it shows an increase relative to other words. if you wanted to test for significance, would it make sense to simply use this comparison (string vs entire corpus) or would it make more sense to compare it to another similar string such as "many of the"? What statistical test would you use? Would it be best to compare the nadir and the peak, or to repeatedly compare consecutive years?

I expect that the answers will be something like "that depends on your purpose." Currently, however, I don't really have a purpose. I'm just poking around, observing, and learning.

Best, Brett

----------------------- Brett Reynolds English Language Centre Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning Toronto, Ontario, Canada brett.reynolds at humber.ca

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