Ngrams for 1850

The Ngrams for the slave ads reveal several interesting features.  Since the Gazette, in 1850, has the largest number of ads, its Ngrams are almost always larger than the other papers.  The only exception to this is the word “negro” in the Standard which is used significantly more than the other papers.  For the word “years,” it is mostly associated with numbers and the word “old,” which is not out of the ordinary.  “Girl” and “woman” do not appear in either the Telegraph or Standard and it is rarely found in the Gazette.  Since the word is not used very often, this indicates that the majority of runaways are male.  “Bright” and “light” is often found with the term “mulatto” and sometimes “dark” is used as well, but not as frequently.  This seems to suggest that mulatto needs a further qualifier in order to be descriptive.  “Said” is associated with the word “negro,” while “says” is almost always found with “he” and never found with “negro.”  “Old” is often found with terms of uncertainty, e.g. “about,” “perhaps,” and “somewhat.”  The uncertainty in the use of old reveals that the owners who wrote the ads may have bought the slaves since they probably could recall the ages of slaves born on their plantations, though this may not be the case.  Finally, “high” is always associated with terms denoting height.

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