A new study has found that over the long course of time, we have become less emotive in our writing. Although we seem like a pretty weepy bunch to me, and the study does confirm that Americans are more weepy than Brits, anyone who has read H.P. Lovecraft's adjective larded horror stories (pulp fare of the 1920s) will understand that we are more restrained in our language today.
But there some other interesting items.
Overwritten, Maybe, But Less Overwrought
Tom Jacobs, 20 March 2013 (ht: Freakonomics)
Researchers mining a Google books database report a decline in mood-related words in English-language books over the past 100 years.
Both of those trends are fascinating, for different reasons. Recent research has found a strong link between disgust sensitivity and social conservatism. Does the decline in references to disgust signal an increasingly liberal society, at least on issues such as gay marriage?
It’s also worth noting that the rise in fear-related terms coincides with what has been called “the great risk shift,” in which middle-class incomes have stagnated even as employment has become less secure. That insecurity seems to be reflected in our writing.