Google ngrams

One of my most interesting revelations at primary school was that there were some words that could be spelt in two ways. This was not just my bad school-boy spelling, or even the abomination that is US English, but real words like waggon/wagon and cannon/canon. I was explaining this to Miss learnalittle yesterday. Naturally it was time to look on the internet to find some more examples. After a little sidetracking I found one of the many useful little tools Google provides free of charge, Ngram (I’ve already written here about how to use Google Maps to create your own). Ngram charts the use of words in books over time. For example you can plot the relative usage of wagon vs. waggon over the last 200 years in British English books, as I have done here. For genealogists this could be used to search for references to ancestors and then see which year and which books those references appear. Anyway I’ll leave you to enjoy Google ngrams yourselves. Enjoy

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