Google NGrams Assignment

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For this assignment, I choose to compare the different types of literature people could read during the 19th century. I used Google NGrams to search “books,” “newspapers,” and “magazines.” I decided on this topic because I was interested in how individuals during this century would get information from different types of media. I was surprised by my results, I thought that magazines and newspapers would have a higher chart, however they all are present throughout the century. After doing some research, it appears that books and novels were popular throughout this century, as they were becoming increasingly cheaper and were a staple of the middle and upper class household. Another important aspect of the rise in books was in increasing literacy rates that were available amongst members of all classes. Newspapers were also an important part of literacy media as they were cheap and provided important information in relatively quick time. Lastly, magazines were slowly making a rise at the end of the century as they provided specialized news for somewhat cheaper than novels, and they were published quicker.

As for settings, I played with the NGrams settings but had a lot of trouble finding a way to make my findings appear higher on the graph. I had to try a lot of different types of words to even get results that weren’t just bottoming out on the graph immediately. At first I attempted to look at different movements in literature, using the words “Romanic, Classical, and nature” but only nature would appear to be used on the graph. Overall I found this assignment difficult as the settings were hard to get to work in my favor. Just as well, choosing words to search was hard because there’s so many options and it is hard to narrow down interests, as well as find something that will appear throughout this time period.


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