Here’s a bit of self- indulgence: a post about an online linguistic experiment. Normal service will resume shortly!
A few years ago, I made up some new words and seeded them on the Internet to see how much they’d grow. I posted the new words on this blog (here’s the original post) then strategically placed them on a few other sites and forums. At the time, all these words resulted in zero results when searching for them on Google. A few months later I googled the words to see how much they’d spread: not very much at all. I soon forgot all about this little experiment, forgot all about the new words except for one: pansentient.
Today I googled my words again and had a bit of a shock: since the last time I checked, my word “paramementic” has grown by 92% and the word “multifrantic” by a reasonable 487%. But googling pansentient, the number of results has rocketed by an amazing 65,500%!!
I’d used a degree of agglutination to come up with the original words and tried to make them seem plausible and possibly even useful. Of course the keyword “pansentient” had already been used in a hypheneted form, and when I started the experiment it actually returned 3 hits.
Here’s a chart showing the rise of the pansentient league:
At the start of my experiment (Feb 2005), pansentient returned a paltry 3 results on google. Eight months later it returned 25 results. Now four years and eight months later, googling the word pansentient returns a whopping 16,375 results.
Another word I came up with back then was “vidmash,” a word to describe a mashup of video clips. Surprisingly it returned zero results back in 2005, but today there are almost 600 results (despite me having completely forgotten to use it!).
Here’s the chart excluding pansentient and vidmash:
My words multifrantic (unfocused highly excited emotions; rapid and random nervous activity) and synthoramic (a view of a synthesized surrounding area; a comprehensive virtual presentation) have both grown a little. Not much, but considering I’d forgotten all about them it’s not too bad.