Counting on Google Books

Blog comment to “Counting on Google Books” by Geoffrey Nunberg (Chronicle of Higher Education, December 16, 2010)
I just discovered something in this tool that you may not want to publish, but it does shed some light on matters and is funny besides. I searched for a not very polite word over the centuries: http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=fuck&year_start=1500&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3 and was amazed that this word appeared the book “The Act of Tonnage and Poundage, and Rates of Merchandize” from 1702.

When I opened it, I found http://books.google.com/books?id=Zjk7AAAAcAAJ&pg=PA201&dq=%22fuck%22&hl=en&ei=ilALTbPpIo72sgb8h63jDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=%22fuck%22&f=false in the sentence:
“Every Merchant making an Entry of Goods, either Inwards or Outwards shall be dispatched in such Order as he cometh;…” and it misread the old spelling of “such”.

-88

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