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What words tell us

Worldwide there are many millions of books. How many have been written up to now is unknown. A great deal of knowledge is stored in these books. If one were to read all of them, he would know a lot about life. Because books show us how our world changes. Each era has its own books. By reading them one can identify what is important to people. Unfortunately, no one can read every book. But modern technology can help analyze books. Using digitalization, books can be stored like data. After that, the contents can be analyzed. In this way, linguists see how our language has changed. It is even more interesting, however, to count the frequency of words. By doing so, the significance of certain things can be identified. Scientists studied more than 5 million books. These were books from the last five centuries. A total of 500 billion words were analyzed. The frequency of the words shows how people lived then and now. Ideas and trends are reflected in the language. The word men has lost some meaning, for example. It is used less frequently today than it was earlier. The frequency of the word women, on the other hand, has increased significantly. One can also see what we like to eat by looking at words. The word ice cream was very important in the fifties. After that, the words pizza and pasta became popular. The term sushi has been dominant for a few years now. There is good news for all language lovers… Our language gains more words every year!

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