Sprache und Vokabular

Weniger Emotionen, mehr Angst 

Das Buch als Spiegel unserer Zeit

Von Nicole Sagener
In der Literatur der vergangenen Jahrzehnte nehmen Gefühlsäußerungen ab - nur Worte, die Angst ausdrücken, gewinnen an Raum

The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books

Alberto Acerbi, Vasileios Lampos, Philip Garnett, R. Alexander Bentley


We report here trends in the usage of “mood” words, that is, words carrying emotional content, in 20th century English language books, using the data set provided by Google that includes word frequencies in roughly 4% of all books published up to the year 2008. We find evidence for distinct historical periods of positive and negative moods, underlain by a general decrease in the use of emotion-related words through time. Finally, we show that, in books, American English has become decidedly more “emotional” than British English in the last half-century, as a part of a more general increase of the stylistic divergence between the two variants of English language.

Citation: Acerbi A, Lampos V, Garnett P, Bentley RA (2013) The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059030

Editor: Sune Lehmann, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Received: July 26, 2012; Accepted: February 11, 2013; Published: March 20, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Acerbi et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This research was partially supported by the Leverhulme Trust "Tipping Points" program. A. Acerbi was initially supported by the "Uniquely Human" project funded by the Swedish Research Council, and then by a Newton International Fellowship. V. Lampos acknowledges the support from the TrendMiner project (EU-FP7-ICT n.287863). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: Co-author R. Alexander Bentley is a PLOS ONE Editorial Board member. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.