(last updated on September 20, 2014)
I was browsing Language Log after seeing a mention on Slashdot. Linguists use Google to track how contemporary written language use is changing; you can enter in a phrase or expression that you’re interested in, and see how many hits show up, and try to come up with a pattern of use. It’s cool stuff, trying to establish the sources of language trends as they evolve.
For example, there are spelling anomalies that crop up in online writing. This post on the use of “deep-seeded” as an expression, as in “deep-seeded hatred” is one such example. Or the existence of “eggcorns“.
There are also cultural differences that lead to the Norwegians being surprised at Barbara Bush’s salute to satan during the presidential inauguration (apparently, the gesture is a University of Texas salute to their sports teams).