Google Ngram is a search engine that graphs words found in books throughout time.
Let's get started!
1. Enter 1800 and 2008
2. In the phrase box, type: 'men,women'
If you have a space, it will correct it. If you are searching a phrase or a full name like “Patti Smith” there is no need for quotations.
3. Look at your graph. What does this tell you, from a distance?
4. There are options up top to customize your corpus. Now select ‘English Fiction.’
5. Without changing the corpus or dates, search ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine.’
What do these words tell you in combination with men and women? Interesting right?
Next, let’s use some more of the tools available on this page.
Last but not least, the blocks of years below the graph align with the word you searched. You can find texts that use these words directly from GoogleBooks if you want to do close reading. Tip: Use this list to find the books in your library!