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      • Native Language:
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      • UK

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    #1

    Ngram

    Does the Ngram reflect spoken language?
    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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      • United States
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    #2

    Re: Ngram

    Only partially -- only to the extent that people write what they say.

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    #3

    Re: Ngram

    All of these computer language tools are limited in their accuracy, but they are not impressionistic. I don't hear tote bag used as much as I used to in the UK, but I am only there some of the time and move in limited circles when I do, so large language databases are often more accurate than personal views. Corpora try to reflect spoken language by included oral texts, but there are limitations to that. Maybe the Ngram view doesn't reflect spoken usage, but written usage will eventually catch up on what is being said, at which point Ngram will be on the ball. I suspect that tote bag is less used than it was in the UK, but only ventured an opinion as I know that these things are hard to pin down. However, if a number of other BrE speakers feel the same way, then that might denote a pattern. If a number of BrE other speakers agree with me, that *might* be the trend. If they say I am wrong, then I am surely wrong. That is the way of impression-based views.

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