Google launched a new toy in their labs yesterday. Google Books Ngram viewer is a tool for examining the occurrence of different words and phrases over time in language corpora gleaned from their Google Books project. In short, you can see whether a word is in, out, on the up or heading for oblivion.
It's a compelling toy, one on which I could quite happily waste an entire morning. To find that Ronald Reagan made no impact on written English as a film star and neither did Margaret Thatcher as a backbench MP, for example. Or the history of British fast food tastes.OK, maybe I'm too much of a geek for my own good.
Of more interest is the use of language with respect to our community. "Transsexual" peaked over a decade ago, replaced by "transgender" which only took off about 1990. No real surprise there, except perhaps the lateness of the latter's rise.
I'm a little dated in my use of "transgendered", too.
something you didn't want to see. And strangely enough I find that rather beautiful.