Online database unlocks secrets of English language

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Google creates a tool to probe ‘genome’ of English words for cultural trendsHarvard and Google say they have developed a way to identify cultural trends over the past 200 years using a database of 5m digitised books …

How many words in the English language never make it into dictionaries? How has the nature of fame changed in the past 200 years? How do scientists and actors compare in their impact on popular culture?

These are just some of the questions that researchers and members of the public can now answer using a new online tool developed by Google with the help of scientists at Harvard University. The massive searchable database is being hailed as the key to a new era of research in the humanities, linguistics and social sciences that has been dubbed “culturomics” ….