New Research Explores Words We Don't Use Anymore - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

New Research Explores Words We Don't Use Anymore

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The nature of our language reveals everything about our society. Long gone are the days when we used words like" handwriting," "suppers", and "soup".

Researchers have ranked 2500 of our most commonly used words and compared them with the same list from 50 years ago. Linguists at the University of Lancaster used computers to search through millions of books, speeches, studies and newspaper articles currently in circulation.

The is fast-paced world that represents a media-influenced culture of words like "movies," "celebrity," and" sex."

The linguists found ‘marriage,' ‘childhood,' ‘God' and ‘religion' all fell in popularity but ‘Christmas' was on the up.

Words like ‘modesty,' ‘conscience' and ‘gentleman' are no longer in vogue, ‘gay' and ‘Internet' are far more common.

The list reflects the changes in society over the past few decades: what people talk about and, particularly, write and now tweet about.

The study found is that there remains a fairly stable core of vocabulary but some words are no longer frequently used while others have become salient.

The original Grammar Specification Language (GSL) book was published in 1953 to help foreign students learn English.

The new GSL was published in the journal Applied Linguistics features the 2,500 most commonly used.

A noticeable difference at the head of the list with an identical top five of ‘the', ‘be', ‘of', ‘and' and ‘a'. However, elsewhere, there are telling changes in words' positions in the list.

Sex equality has influenced the list with ‘man' dropping 62 spots to 105th while ‘woman' has risen 34 places to 198th. 

More obviously are words more relevant to past time, such as ‘dear', ‘servant', ‘hunger', ‘coal', ‘mill', ‘pencil', ‘tin', ‘bless', ‘plugh', ‘handshake', ‘telegraph', ‘comb', ‘grammar' and ‘gaiety'.

New to the GSL though are ‘mobile', ‘CD', ‘guy', ‘climate', ‘video', ‘technology', ‘drug', ‘text', ‘online', ‘computer', ‘television', ‘traffic', ‘cancer', ‘email' and ‘environment'.

The word ‘Good' is the most common adjective by the word ‘other' while ‘same' is also ranking higher on the list.

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