Saturday, January 8, 2011

Books are becoming middle class economically aware

As some of you pointed out: excessive usage of budget might indicate Nation's budgets instead of personal budgets.

At least that is what the usage of terms cheap, expensive and budget in books over time tells us (via Google Ngram):

Usage of the words in books (click here to see the webpage)
This graph shows out of all (uni-grammatic) words used in books published each year, how many of them were cheap, expensive and budget. More details on interpreting the graph are here.

Apart from the obvious shift which happened during the World Wars (shown in yellow in the image), I also see a somewhat decline in the usage of the word budget after 1990. Perhaps that is the disillusionment which the dot-com burst brought about, but I will not try to read too much into the graph. Maybe someone out there could give me more insights?

However, books still are a little snobbish when it comes to talking about the cheap and the expensive: while the old books (which were a sort of luxury) talked about the cheap slightly more than about expensive,  books now (when they have become commonplace) talk a lot more about expensive than cheap. Maybe the advertisements have taken it upon themselves to balance the cheap out, I do not think that the interest in cheap is not going to die out any time soon. :)

Of course, it could be because people use these words in a different context now than before, and I am not a linguist either. However, I am still interested in the dichotomy of cheap and expensive items.

Expensive shoes and a Cheap mopeds with free shipping, please

Another interesting thing is noting which expensive/cheap things Google suggests to people (via

Expensive and cheap (click here to see the webpage)
[Remember to enter a 'space' after the words]
People are looking for cheap and expensive cars alike, but I wonder why nobody searches for expensive flights or cheap champagne?


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