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  • google ngrams

    Some expressions in the diary have been discussed quite a bit

    I was just wondering if there were other questionable phrases.

    Looking through Google n-grams means searching through 189 billion (189.000 million) words printed in english between 1500-2000 and seeing which decades various phrases pop up.

    Obviously, one-off doesn't take off until after well into the 20th century.

    "spreads mayhem" - first use 1979. "spreading mayhem" a bit earlier, 1946.

    But what about the phrase "to down a [person]" - that seems to be hard to find in a 19th century publication?

    So is any variation of outfoxed - outfox, outfoxes, outfoxing. Earliest example in google books seems to be 1911 but it only really catches on after the 1940s. One online etymology offers 1872 as first known use of outfox?

    My thrills - a very unusual phrase in google books, it seems, most 19th century results are concerned with "my thrills" in the musical sense.

    Mole bonnett - no results!



  • #2
    Great post Kattrup.

    But don't be surprised if you find some individuals who are ready to throw away all the English literature in favour of their own purposes.


    It is not always about science or logic.


    The Baron

    Comment


    • #3
      I am using this as the source (https://whitechapeljack.com/the-james-maybrick-diary/) , but I'm pretty sure the poetic forms in the diary are all a bit modern.

      Also from a theological standpoint the address to God in the end and the appeal to God's grace for forgiveness shows a lack of understanding that would indicate that it would never have been a contemporary forgery,

      so then I tend towards modern, there are too many conveniences contained within.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
        Some expressions in the diary have been discussed quite a bit

        I was just wondering if there were other questionable phrases.

        Looking through Google n-grams means searching through 189 billion (189.000 million) words printed in english between 1500-2000 and seeing which decades various phrases pop up.

        Obviously, one-off doesn't take off until after well into the 20th century.

        "spreads mayhem" - first use 1979. "spreading mayhem" a bit earlier, 1946.

        But what about the phrase "to down a [person]" - that seems to be hard to find in a 19th century publication?

        So is any variation of outfoxed - outfox, outfoxes, outfoxing. Earliest example in google books seems to be 1911 but it only really catches on after the 1940s. One online etymology offers 1872 as first known use of outfox?

        My thrills - a very unusual phrase in google books, it seems, most 19th century results are concerned with "my thrills" in the musical sense.

        Mole bonnett - no results!

        Doesn't matter if it can be proven that the diarist used anachronistic language.

        The pro-diarists will simply claim that Maybrick was an 19th century Shakespeare who coined those phrases.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Harry D View Post

          Doesn't matter if it can be proven that the diarist used anachronistic language.

          The pro-diarists will simply claim that Maybrick was an 19th century Shakespeare who coined those phrases.
          As a matter of interest, I asked this of Katnip (if memory serves) and I'm pretty sure I didn't get a response - can you adequately define 'diary defenders' and 'pro-diarists', and - more tellingly - can you put actual names to them on this Casebook?

          Ike
          Iconoclast

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

            As a matter of interest, I asked this of Katnip (if memory serves) and I'm pretty sure I didn't get a response
            You must have missed it; my response was here


            Back to the OP, I find the development of thrills rather interesting. While thrill in the modern sense -a jolting invigorating short lived intense experience - as a noun was known, it seemed to be more of a collective, impersonal sense. Something that one might experience if the situation was of a sufficient quality, if everything aligned.
            Someone seeking out a thrill, that a person could independently seek more thrills and speak of “my thrills” and of needing thrills - does not seem Victorian at all. Going by the various examples in the texts that I’ve seen so far.

            I’m quite surprised that outfoxed seems to be almost exclusively 20th century, I certainly would have guessed at earlier use.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kattrup View Post

              But what about the phrase "to down a [person]" - that seems to be hard to find in a 19th century publication?
              ​​​​​​"The Zulu War Journal of Colonel Henry Harford" has the line "he surely would have been shot down". Similarly, the term "dropped" is frequently used in reports of battle, so it doesn't strike me as particularly anachronistic.
              Thems the Vagaries.....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                ​​​​​​"The Zulu War Journal of Colonel Henry Harford" has the line "he surely would have been shot down". Similarly, the term "dropped" is frequently used in reports of battle, so it doesn't strike me as particularly anachronistic.
                but “to shoot down someone” is a different expression from “to down someone”?

                Because “down” is used as a verb.

                It’s very possible it existed, it just seems to have come into use in the 20th century.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A picture speaks more than 190 billion words: Click image for larger version

Name:	spreads mayhem.jpg
Views:	460
Size:	49.0 KB
ID:	739841 Click image for larger version

Name:	outfox_inf.jpg
Views:	458
Size:	45.3 KB
ID:	739842
                  OnClick image for larger version

Name:	one-off_NOUN.jpg
Views:	452
Size:	43.7 KB
ID:	739840One-off _NOUN_ means the search is for any combination of one-off followed by a noun.

                  Google n-grams show frequency, not total number of words. Just in case someone was wondering.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                    A picture speaks more than 190 billion words: Click image for larger version

Name:	spreads mayhem.jpg
Views:	460
Size:	49.0 KB
ID:	739841 Click image for larger version

Name:	outfox_inf.jpg
Views:	458
Size:	45.3 KB
ID:	739842
                    OnClick image for larger version

Name:	one-off_NOUN.jpg
Views:	452
Size:	43.7 KB
ID:	739840One-off _NOUN_ means the search is for any combination of one-off followed by a noun.

                    Google n-grams show frequency, not total number of words. Just in case someone was wondering.


                    Brilliant!

                    Everything is screaming HOAX




                    The Baron

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Baron View Post
                      Brilliant!
                      Everything is screaming HOAX
                      The Baron
                      The Baron,

                      Goodness, I think you may finally have cracked the case!

                      As a statistician, these graphs are beyond dispute. They basically prove that the scrapbook could not have been written in 1888 and 1889. Good job, lads!

                      I once wrote a poem called 'A Graph for No Reason'. I don't know why it's suddenly coming back to me now ...

                      The Bard
                      Iconoclast

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Google Ngrams thing is certainly of interest, but it's not without its criticisms. It's never going to close this one, let's be honest. Ultimately, it's not an accurate record of every use of language.

                        Interestingly, one of the major criticisms of ngrams is it's reliance on scientific and technical documents. Which should show "one off" prior to 20th century, in technical terms, as had been proved by the OED and latterly some some suburbanite called Dave.

                        So no reference at all to "one off" is odd. Specify "one off -noun" and it skews the result, because it's a picky bitch when it comes to exact definition. If it's infallible, it should find all those "one off" technical definitions. Which exist.

                        And to both parties, it's not about the pros and cons. Be objective.
                        Thems the Vagaries.....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post
                          The Google Ngrams thing is certainly of interest, but it's not without its criticisms. It's never going to close this one, let's be honest. Ultimately, it's not an accurate record of every use of language.

                          Interestingly, one of the major criticisms of ngrams is it's reliance on scientific and technical documents. Which should show "one off" prior to 20th century, in technical terms, as had been proved by the OED and latterly some some suburbanite called Dave.

                          So no reference at all to "one off" is odd. Specify "one off -noun" and it skews the result, because it's a picky bitch when it comes to exact definition. If it's infallible, it should find all those "one off" technical definitions. Which exist.

                          And to both parties, it's not about the pros and cons. Be objective.
                          Hi al bundy

                          it’s not infallible in the sense that it has tracked everything ever printed. Very very small numbers of n-grams might also be left out for, it only considers n-grams that occur in at least 40 books. So the fact that examples of one-off exist even in the 19th century is not a guarantee that they will show up in the n-gram viewer.

                          It only (!) shows the frequency of use across time.

                          So, knowing that, quite remarkable that James Maybrick, in the span of a short document, happened to use at least three phrases that seem to have come into use only in the 20th century.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kattrup View Post

                            but “to shoot down someone” is a different expression from “to down someone”?

                            Because “down” is used as a verb.

                            It’s very possible it existed, it just seems to have come into use in the 20th century.
                            Kattrup,

                            I searched for ‘downed him’ in a newspaper archive and found hundreds of 19thc examples.

                            Am I missing your point?


                            Gary

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                              Kattrup,

                              I searched for ‘downed him’ in a newspaper archive and found hundreds of 19thc examples.

                              Am I missing your point?


                              Gary
                              Not at all, I was just surprised that it seemed that the phrase “to down a” became much more popular in the 20th century.
                              Here’s the graph, I hope it’ll show up from my phone
                              Click image for larger version

Name:	C2A4774A-4D32-4E21-8F10-C918CD39A693.jpeg
Views:	416
Size:	23.7 KB
ID:	739871

                              Comment

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