Modern Era Brings Death to Words
Within the quiet pages of books, words are battling it out with a competitive fierceness that rivals Wall Street’s. New research examining the frequency of words used in books over more than 200 years reveals the rise and demise of various words through time and how social, technological and political change influence language.
An international team of scientists found a marked increase in the death rate of words that coincides with the modern print era. That trend intensified with the advent of stricter publishing procedures, and later computerized editing and spell-checking technologies, which led to the extinction of various misspelled words or less-popular synonyms.