Word signs of the times

A quick look at some of the trends that help shape (some of) our lives, via Google Ngrams.

As a proportion of references to “theory” and “academic,” uses that begin with “just” are on the rise:

After a lot of talk about “good parenting” in the 1970s, references to “bad parenting” as a share of all references to parenting are gaining rapidly.

As “capital” is increasingly modified, “human capital” took an early lead, but lost it to “social capital,” while “cultural capital” established itself as a third-party niche.

After a tipping point (up) in “tipping point” use in the late 1990s (Gladwell’s New Yorker article was in 1996), will there be a tipping point (down) to end the epidemic?

Finally, to capitalize on all the brouhaha over political forecasting, I offer my own prediction of the rank ordering in this year’s election: Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian.

If I am wrong, who cares? I only spent 5 minutes on the forecast — that’s the least of our problems. If I am right, I’ll accept offers for next time.

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