Writing a period piece? Here's a great Google site to check words & phrases in use...

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  • Writing a period piece? Here's a great Google site to check words & phrases in use...

    ... over time.

    https://books.google.com/ngrams

    You enter the words and phrases, choose the date bounds, and it searches a its enormous digitised book database for occurrences and charts them.

    You can have all sorts of fun seeing when words and phrases appeared, spiked, ebbed or climbed. And do face-offs (i.e Sigmund Freud vs Carl Jung).

  • #2
    Writing a period piece? Here's a great Google site to check words & phrases in use...

    Very cool. Thanks!

    My website:www.marjorykaptanoglu.com

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    • #3
      Re: Writing a period piece?

      This would have been nice when I was writing my period script. I spent well over a hundred hours scouring NYT archives and period books to get what that search would perform in less than an hour. Definitely bookmarked 60Words!

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      • #4
        Re: Writing a period piece?

        I thought this was something like timelines of history, which would be really helpful, but it's more like just an info-graphic so I'm not really clear on the point...
        "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

        Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

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        • #5
          Re: Writing a period piece?

          Originally posted by LauriD View Post
          I thought this was something like timelines of history, which would be really helpful, but it's more like just an info-graphic so I'm not really clear on the point...
          if you need to know whether a word or phrase would be anachronistic as used, it can give you a reasonable idea

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          • #6
            Re: Writing a period piece? Here's a great Google site

            would be cool if it were possible to translate a contemporary phrase into an historical idiom...for example "Shut your mouth!" or "That's total bullshit." ...a future version of Wolfram Alpha may provide a literal translation of 4th century Attic Greek "Keep your lips together." or 12th Century Danish "That's the cat's hair." : )

            if there aren't cross-referenced idiomatic phrase books...soon databases?
            @oceanbluesky

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            • #7
              Re: Writing a period piece?

              Originally posted by LauriD View Post
              I thought this was something like timelines of history, which would be really helpful, but it's more like just an info-graphic so I'm not really clear on the point...
              Here's an example.

              The word "scientist" was coined in 1833. "Natural philosopher" was the term people had used before and for some time after.

              To check when the word really came into usage, you can enter it into the search. You'll get this:

              https://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...entist%3B%2Cc0

              As you can see, it picked up from around the mid/late 1860s.

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              • #8
                Re: Writing a period piece?

                Originally posted by 60WordsPerHour View Post
                Here's an example.

                The word "scientist" was coined in 1833. "Natural philosopher" was the term people had used before and for some time after.

                To check when the word really came into usage, you can enter it into the search. You'll get this:

                https://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...entist%3B%2Cc0

                As you can see, it picked up from around the mid/late 1860s.
                OK, I get it now and that IS useful.... But I wonder if many screenwriters will pay attention? Always drives me nuts when characters in period pieces say things like "OK."
                "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

                Please visit my website and blog: www.lauridonahue.com.

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                • #9
                  Re: Writing a period piece?

                  Originally posted by LauriD View Post
                  OK, I get it now and that IS useful.... But I wonder if many screenwriters will pay attention? Always drives me nuts when characters in period pieces say things like "OK."
                  Agreed. Watched an old western recently where one of the characters exclaimed "Wowwee!"

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                  • #10
                    Re: Writing a period piece? Here's a great Google site

                    Originally posted by oceanbluesky View Post
                    would be cool if it were possible to translate a contemporary phrase into an historical idiom...for example "Shut your mouth!" or "That's total bullshit." ...a future version of Wolfram Alpha may provide a literal translation of 4th century Attic Greek "Keep your lips together." or 12th Century Danish "That's the cat's hair." : )

                    if there aren't cross-referenced idiomatic phrase books...soon databases?
                    Excellent idea.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here's a great Google site to check words & phrases in use...

                      Originally posted by 60WordsPerHour View Post
                      ... over time.

                      https://books.google.com/ngrams

                      You enter the words and phrases, choose the date bounds, and it searches a its enormous digitised book database for occurrences and charts them.

                      You can have all sorts of fun seeing when words and phrases appeared, spiked, ebbed or climbed. And do face-offs (i.e Sigmund Freud vs Carl Jung).
                      Excellent resource. Thank you!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Writing a period piece?

                        Some odd years ago I would partake in "hardcore" Civil War reenacting. We had to walk the walk and talk the talk.

                        This is a good resource for 19th century slang: http://mess1.homestead.com/Nineteent...Dictionary.pdf

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