WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Digital Humanities

In the digital humanities, academics from fields like English and history use high tech tools to conduct research and track trends. Projects that were once impossible are now underway, from comparing language usage in a million books to curating online collections of interactive and multimedia materials. We’ll discover what digital humanities scholars are uncovering about the past and learn how some are looking to the future to preserve the culture of today.

Quiz: Anachronisms In Popular Period Dramas

Period dramas are making a resurgence in popular culture, from television series like "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey" to historical films like "Lincoln." Stage designers, costume makers and screenplay writers are keen to reflect the era that the story is set. But how accurate are the words and phrases these characters use?

Benjamin Schmidt, visiting graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard and a graduate student in history at Princeton University, researches verbal anachronisms in his blog, Prochronisms. He's identified conversations peppered with words and phrases that are more popular today than the period in which they're supposed to be speaking. For example, Schmidt found that modern business vernacular such as "leverage" and "even the playing field" often seems to creep into "Mad Men" scenes.

Test your knowledge of which saying was chronologically correct for the time, knowing that "Downton Abbey" is set from 1912 to 1921, "Mad Men" takes place during the 1960s and "Lincoln" is set in 1865. Answers to the quiz are below.

Quiz Answers

Q1. India
Q2. contraband
Q3. combine against
Q4. have to
Q5. coffee beans
Q6. perfect match
Q7. sharpshooter
Q8. sneaked
Q9. peace mission
Q10. irritating

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