Playing with NGram Viewer

Dr. Kassorla's Blog

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Yesterday I spent a few hours on the phone with a similarly geeky friend, Fredrick, playing with NGram Viewer from Google.  If you have never been on NGram Viewer, I have to warn you–make sure you have enough time!!  We got sucked in quick, and we stayed a while.

NGram Viewer is a wonderful tool that allows you to enter one or more terms  into a search box.  Then, through the magic of Google (search, books, pictures, etc.), you receive a wonderful graph informing you of the popularity of whatever you have entered.

As we played with the tool, we were looking for ways to use it in the writing classroom to generate authentic research.  For example, we put the word “ipod” into the Ngram viewer and got the following results:

ipod jpg

Then, of course, we asked, “Why were people in 1800 and 1905 so crazy about ipods?”  It’s easy to…

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