The expression of emotions in 20th century books

Alberto Acerbi*, Vasileios Lampos, Philip Garnett, R. Alexander Bentley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report here trends in the usage of 'mood' words, i.e. words carrying emotional content, in 20th century English language books, using the data set provided by Google that includes word frequencies in roughly 4% of all books published up to the year 2008. We find evidence for distinct historical periods of positive and negative moods, underlain by a general decrease in the use of emotion-related words through time. Finally, we show that, in books, American English has become decidedly more 'emotional' than British English in the last half-century, as a part of a more general increase of the stylistic divergence between the two variants of English language.
Original languageEnglish
Article number59030
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • CULTURAL-EVOLUTION
  • RANDOM DRIFT
  • LANGUAGE
  • DIVERSITY
  • SCIENCE
  • RATES

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