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  • You’ve proved my point, Baron. Ngrams is inadequate even in relation to printed material. Just imagine if the man who coined the witty, alliterative description of the Brentford Bumble had used it in a private letter or in his diary instead of in an article.

    You’d be claiming that no one in the 19th century could possibly have thought of combining bounding and buffoon.

    The iceberg is swiftly approaching SS Ngram, Cap’n Baron. All the sensible rats have departed, you really don’t need to go down with it.
    Last edited by MrBarnett; 10-27-2021, 03:04 PM.

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    • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
      OMG - fantastic - I hadn't realised that Google Ngrams skipped newspapers!!!!

      Can you imagine how many newly-coined words and phrases are being used right now, today, likely to appear in daily speech, in emails, texts, television news, and printed newspapers long before they ever make it into a book?

      And here's me believing that Google Ngrams was actually an all-encompassing sword of truth where literature of any form was concerned.

      What a fool am I!

      It skips newspapers, doesn’t cover all books, and has nothing whatsoever to tell us about private correspondence/diaries (except the minute % that have been published) or conversational English usage.



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      • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
        The iceberg is swiftly approaching SS Ngram, Cap’n Baron. All the sensible rats have departed, you really don’t need to go down with it.
        Bar one particular rat, I wonder?

        Ike
        Last edited by Iconoclast; 10-27-2021, 03:11 PM.
        Iconoclast

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        • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

          It skips newspapers, doesn’t cover all books, and has nothing whatsoever to tell us about private correspondence/diaries (except the minute % that have been published) or conversational English usage.


          But I thought these posters were founts of all knowledge, MrB - including knowing what a twisted serial killer would or would not write in his personal diary in 1888?
          Iconoclast

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          • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

            Bar one particular rat, I wonder?

            Ike
            The one-off rat?

            (This is amusing word play, BTW, the sort of thing that Victorians rarely indulged in, not a personal insult.)
            Last edited by MrBarnett; 10-27-2021, 03:09 PM.

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            • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

              But I thought these posters were founts of all knowledge, MrB - including knowing what a twisted serial killer would or would not write in his personal diary in 1888?
              Do you remember the pathetic little water fountains that were around in schools, parks etc back in the day? You may be too young to remember them, but they were about as useful to a thirsty child as Ngrams is to a seeker after linguistic absolutes.
              Last edited by MrBarnett; 10-27-2021, 03:17 PM.

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              • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                Do you remember the pathetic little water fountains that were around in schools, parks etc back in the day? You may be too young to remember them, but they were about as useful to a thirsty child as Ngrams is to a seeker after linguistic absolutes.
                Believe me, MrB, they were sources of torture for brilliant young up-and-coming Ripperologists in 1970s working-class Newcastle, let me assure you. That and a kicking on your way to the chemistry lab whose corridor was too narrow to safely navigate.

                And the behaviour of the pupils was even worse.
                Iconoclast

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                • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                  Do you remember the pathetic little water fountains that were around in schools, parks etc back in the day? You may be too young to remember them, but they were about as useful to a thirsty child as Ngrams is to a seeker after linguistic absolutes.
                  "It's a poor workman that blames his tools" -- Old Proverb.

                  I think that newspaper archives, some with millions of pages digitized, gives an excellent opportunity to study language patterns.

                  Of course, those failing to find "bumbling buffoon" before 1940 will always insist it must be a fault in the system, despite the same system readily spitting out hundreds of examples of its use in the 1950s-1980s--an era totally consistent with other indications of the diary's modernity.

                  They can give no logical reason for this, other than to complain that the technology is not giving the results they so obviously want.

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                  • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                    "It's a poor workman that blames his tools" -- Old Proverb.

                    I think that newspaper archives, some with millions of pages digitized, gives an excellent opportunity to study language patterns.

                    Of course, those failing to find "bumbling buffoon" before 1940 will always insist it must be a fault in the system, despite the same system readily spitting out hundreds of examples of its use in the 1950s-1980s--an era totally consistent with other indications of the diary's modernity.

                    They can give no logical reason for this, other than to complain that the technology is not giving the results they so obviously want.
                    Was

                    ‘Brown of Brentford, the bucolic bounding buffoon of Bumbledom’

                    a language pattern? Or just a spontaneous use of alliteration?

                    Don’t forget the thread title.



















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                    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                      "It's a poor workman that blames his tools" -- Old Proverb.

                      I think that newspaper archives, some with millions of pages digitized, gives an excellent opportunity to study language patterns.

                      Of course, those failing to find "bumbling buffoon" before 1940 will always insist it must be a fault in the system, despite the same system readily spitting out hundreds of examples of its use in the 1950s-1980s--an era totally consistent with other indications of the diary's modernity.

                      They can give no logical reason for this, other than to complain that the technology is not giving the results they so obviously want.

                      But RJ, I have given a reason for this. I think the diary was probably written by someone in the latter half of the 20th century. Probably, but not certainly. The language suggests that to me.


                      But that’s not the game we are playing - we’re looking for a single knock-out blow for the diary’s authenticity and some - Baron being the most ridiculously convinced of all - claim to have found a multitude of them.

                      We really didn’t need to resort to Ngrams etc to detect a modern feel to the language, did we? Perhaps some do because they have little feeling for English usage.
                      Last edited by MrBarnett; 10-27-2021, 04:05 PM.

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                      • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                        Don’t forget the thread title.
                        Oh I did lightly chuckle to myself, MrB - you need to get yourself over to the The Greatest Thread of All, where you evidently thought you were!
                        Iconoclast

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                        • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

                          Oh I did lightly chuckle to myself, MrB - you need to get yourself over to the The Greatest Thread of All, where you evidently thought you were!
                          Oh dear, yes, I’m on the wrong thread. Sort of. This thread is the bastard child of the GToA, isn’t it?



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                          • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                            This thread is the bastard child of the GToA, isn’t it?
                            Oh dear. Are you suggesting one of my threads is illegitimate?
                            I demand satisfaction. It’s pistols at dawn, sir!

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                            • Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                              Oh dear. Are you suggesting one of my threads is illegitimate?
                              I demand satisfaction. It’s pistols at dawn, sir!
                              Nothing personal, Kattrup. Your thread introduced me to Ngrams, for which I’m genuinely grateful.

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                              • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                                Nothing personal, Kattrup. Your thread introduced me to Ngrams, for which I’m genuinely grateful.
                                No worries Mr B, it was the phrase "bastard child" which caused me to feign outrage at the badge of illegitimacy - we are here discussing Victorian mores, after all

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