Word Frequency Reflects Economic Trends (Smithsonian)

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What can the prevalence of dismal words like “fear” or “sadness” tell us about a country’s economic situation? As it turns out, quite a lot. The use of melancholic language in 20th century books has been shown to mirror unemployment and inflation patterns in the U.S., Britain, and Germany. This recent study outlined in Smithsonian magazine explains the link between literary and financial misery.

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