Positively speaking, you make friends

OUR language usage is just as positive now as it was 50 years ago, researchers say.

A study of billions of words has found we use the same amount of upbeat language as we did in the Sixties, with a natural bias towards positive terms.

United States scientists claim the findings show the “strong bias” of the English language towards positive words. Positive, upbeat language is regarded as more sociable and helps us to make friends.

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The team, from the University of Vermont, gathered billions of words from various sources.

These included 20 years of New York Times back issues, Twitter and 50 years of song lyrics and the Google Books Project, comprising millions of books dating back to 1520.

Results, published in journal PLoS ONE, showed the 5,000 most common words were likely to be positive.

Study author Dr Peter Dodds said it didn’t mean everything was “fine and happy – it’s just that language is social”.