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The Google Books Ngram Viewer (http://books.google.com/ngrams) lets you graph and compare phrases from 5.2 million books (that's half a trillion words!) digitized by the Google Books team over time, showing how their usage has waxed and waned over the years.

Recently one digital humanities researcher turned to the Ngram Viewer to answer a question that's piqued the interest of many a pop-culture fan lately: just how historically accurate is the dialogue of Downton Abbey, anyway?

Read more on what he found:
90
43
Ron Lusk's profile photoLeumas Mik's profile photoGoogle Daily's profile photofederica perazzini's profile photo
7 comments
 
It's not working for on my mobile device... Won't give me any search results. (Using a Samsung Galaxy Ace).
 
Such algorithmic investigations place a halo around the conclusions and thus skew the importance of the question. Inserting anachronisms in fictional theater is not unusual.

What is more amusing to me is the anachronistic question, "Just how historically accurate is the dialogue of Downton Abbey?"

Our standards for "historical accuracy" are relatively recent developments in historiography, especially if the genre is "historical fiction."
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