OK, this is pretty fascinating, even though I’m a bit skeptical about reading too much into the findings. (Hey, guys–a bad pun!)
Researchers looked at books over the past century and charted how many emotion-expressing words the books contained. Specifically, they counted the number of words that reflected joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise.
And they found that joyful words were most prevalent in the 1920s. And sad words hit their peak in 1941.
The implication is that this word analysis somehow reflects the zeitgeist. I’m doing some face-scrunching about that, because I think that’s maybe too simplistic an interpretation.
Even so, I’m riveted.*
*Does this word indicate “surprise”?