Manic Fringe


The personal blog of the one and only Luc Gendrot. Internet Superhero. Not really.

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An interesting visualization

I'm one of those people who "loves" certain fields of science despite having a very rudimentary knowledge of them. Data analytics is one of those fields. I love the idea of taking a huge amount of information and parsing it into something useful and analyzable.

So I was looking at google's Ngram viewer, which will show you the relative frequency of words in a selection of same-language books. Just playing around with it for 10 minutes I was able to very easily see the re-appropriation of the word gay by the LGBT community.

Reappropriation of the word

Not exactly a spectacular or novel insight, but still really interesting that google can give us these sorts of insights. Text mining for the masses!

If you go back to the 1800's you can also see what I presume to be the fall of the word "gay" as meaning "happy" and again the re appropriation.

Reappropriation of the word

Interestingly the lowest point on the graph for the word gay, and the point at which it starts rising (what I'm calling the word-appropriation) corresponds pretty well with the years following the stonewall riots (1969).

Obviously I'm not a historian or a sociologist, but this is pretty cool anyway. Someone correct me if I'm egregiously misrepresenting this data. Otherwise play around with the Ngram viewer, and see what you can figure out.

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