Language reflects culture

Part of our eclectic reading schedule is The Harvard Business Review and in the April issue (pp.32-3) we found this Idea Watch article tracking the rise and fall of certain management buzzwords.

The HBR used Google’s Ngram Viewer, which plots the relative frequency of words in 5 million books published from 1500 to 2008.

Ngram is a lot of fun (if somewhat ‘old fun’- sorry HBR, we expect you to be leading, not 3 years behind). My own personal favourite plot, being a little bit London/media/W11, was ‘Notting Hill’ Vs ‘Queen’s Park’.

Ngram reflects culture. It reflects population moves. It reflects management obsessions. It reflects a lot of things. It does all this because words are the currency of civilisations.

Chris

PS If you’d like to hear more about how we use other software to gain insights from customer language for some of the world’s most interesting brands, please email Chris.

PPS If you’d like to read about a few more fun things you can do with nGram, check out the wonderful Ben Zimmer’s article in Atlantic Magazine (link: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/googles-ngram-viewer-goes-wild/280601/ )