Xenophobia versus Grace: the use of words over time.

Yesterday night, I was reading an article written by the current finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis; but, this post will not be about a potential Grexit or an extended analysis of Greece’s analysis.

This post will be about words.

From that article, I stumbled into many words of which their definitions I couldn’t fully grasp (in the sense that I make sentences of my own with those words). It started off with xenophobia, which means prejudice against people from different countries. Then I scrolled down to see the Google graph of mentions of the word for the past two centuries. Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 11.55.24 AM

The second word I googled was grace. I find that people rarely use grace as a verb, when it can bring praise and flattery to a whole new level when comparing it to the usages of ‘beautiful’, ‘did a good job’ or even ‘well done’. For example, “With her radiant smile, youthful charm and bulletproof resilience, Lina graced the political field with the help of her administration.” How classy does that sound? That doesn’t even come close to sounding like a cheap compliment! If anything, it isn’t cheap. Yet here is its mentions over time:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 12.13.20 PM

Does the stark contrast between the mentions of Xenophobia and Grace tell you something?

I came up with a few ideas to explain this:

  1. Grace is ‘old English’. Fair enough.
  2. People worldwide are finding it difficult to adapt to increasing globalisation, and political parties and organisations of the like are becoming more concerned of the free movement of labour. E.g the EU, and the UK.
  3. Christians found new ways and words to express their love for the religion.
  4. (insert your own thoughts here)

It is very easy to say more people are becoming racist, and that less people are reading good books. This could OR could not be the case, but we shouldn’t fall into the trap of opting for the easiest and seemingly most sensible reasons although there’s much more to it.

Nevertheless, the two graphs show one thing: change. 


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