Thursday, 28 February 2013
Terrorist, rebel, resistance: N-Gram results
As you can see, putting the terms 'terrorist', 'rebel' and 'resistance' into the N-Gram Viewer yields some interesting (although not unexpected) results. Obviously, 'rebel' and 'resistance' may be used in more metaphorical ways than 'terrorist', and so have appear much more often in the results, but the trends in their use and the very clear peaks reflect world events and, presumably, the opinions of people writing in English at the time. The term 'rebel', peaking around the time of the Taiping rebellion (which had little effect on english-speakers), is quite non-committal, reflecting the lack of vested interest of the writers in the events at the time. The term 'resistance', however, is more biased towards the party which is doing the 'resisting' - predictably, this shows a drop during the 1920s but then a sharp rise in the 1930s, peaking during the Second World War.
Finally, the word 'terrorist', a word which has come into vogue more recently, is heavily weighted against the party which goes against the 'norm'. A sudden rise is seen during the late 1970s, which is maintained through the 1980s before dropping back to a more gentle curve. As extreme rebellions have had a greater domestic impact on English speaking writers, the term has come to be used more often. It is also interesting to note that the other two terms have started to slowly diminish in use, in spite of not being particularly archaic.