Happy Words vs. Sad Words Used -- Happy Wins

Pretty hard to believe, with all the f-bombs and other four-letter words flying around.  But did you know that human beings lean towards expressing themselves in positive words rather than negative ones?

According to new research, probably all human language skews toward the use of happy words, newswise.com reports. This includes newspapers, magazines, TV news.  I guess, even blogs.

"We looked at 10 languages,” says UVM mathematician Peter Dodds who co-led the study, “and in every source we looked at, people use more positive words than negative ones.”

This huge study of the “atoms of language—individual words,” Dodds says, indicates that language itself—perhaps humanity’s greatest technology—has a positive outlook. And, therefore, “it seems that positive social interaction,” it is built into its fundamental structure.

I beg to differ.  Taking a quick look at the leading headlines at cnn.com, "Three Killed at UNC,"  "Bush Aide Resigns After Offensive Tweets," "College QB Shows No Mercy to Kid In Hospital," see any happy words there?

But after studies of  24 types of sources including books, news outlets, social media, websites, television and movie subtitles, music lyrics, and 100 billion words used in tweets, the bias was clear, Dodds says. A Google web crawl of Spanish-language sites had the highest average word happiness, newswise.com notes, and a search of Chinese books had the lowest, "but—and here’s the point—all 24 sources of words that they analyzed skewed above the neutral score of five on their one-to-nine scale—regardless of the language."

In all cases, the scientists found that, by looking at the words people actually use most often, we  “use more happy words than sad words," researchers say.

 Hmm.... I'll remember that the next time I listen to Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News.  Oops, I forgot.  He's been suspended.  Nothing happy about that!


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