When we look up a word on Google, it provides a nice dictionary which always contains a chart demonstrating Use over time.

Over time, an interesting fact has always occurred to me that the frequency of use of many words is declining. I found it really abnormal and somehow intriguing. Could you kindly point out what might be the reason and what it might indicate? Any possible answer would be welcome.

PS: I’m not sure whether this question is off-topic, if it is so, please leave a comment, and I will delete it. Thanks!

closed as too broad by Edwin Ashworth, David, Scott, Mari-Lou A, J. Taylor May 11 '18 at 8:53

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Can you demonstrate a few cases of such decline? Like and migration don't seem to validate your claim. – Lawrence May 4 '18 at 14:13
  • @Lawrence destroy, evil, bear, render, intention – Benny May 4 '18 at 14:20
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    You might have to take it on a case-by-case basis. Since the advent of blogging, I'd expect the number of words in print to have gone up, not down. Frequencies would shift depending on things like trends and world events. – Lawrence May 4 '18 at 14:34
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    You need to include actual data for this to be a reasonable question. One possible interpretation is that relative frequencies of usage are tending to drop because people are using more words. // Although it is off-topic, as not specific enough. – Edwin Ashworth May 4 '18 at 15:19
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it lacks evidence, concrete examples, and a specific time reference. Are we talking about the last five years or the last 150 years? – Mari-Lou A May 11 '18 at 6:47

Articles "Languages cool as they expand: Allometric scaling and the decreasing need for new words" and "Evolution of the most common English words and phrases over the centuries" shed some light on the topic. They show that classic Zipf's law holds for a large dataset of English text. Interestingly enough, lifespan of new words appears to be longer today than it was in the past.

We find that the most common words and phrases in any given year had a much shorter popularity lifespan in the sixteenth century than they had in the twentieth century [2].

An interesting conclusion is also that we don't really need new words because writing also succumbs to some form of self-organisation. Of course, there are exceptions like "email" and "Google", but they are very rare.

... the vocabulary size of growing languages to demonstrate a decreasing marginal need for new words, a feature that is likely related to the underlying correlations between words. We calculate the annual growth fluctuations of word use which has a decreasing trend as the corpus size increases, indicating a slowdown in linguistic evolution following language expansion [1].

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