According to research from Cambridge University Press and Lancaster University we use the word family almost twice as much now as we did in the 1990s. Digging deeper, we found that the way we talk about family has changed too.

Looking at the words that occurred most often alongside family, in the 1990s data, speakers were more likely to describe their family, using words like immediate, big, large, happy, nice, young, little and small.

In our 2010s data so far, speakers seem more likely to discuss the activities they have been enjoying with their family rather than the formalities. Common words connected to family include: day, event, trip, meal and wedding. Words like this suggest that today's speakers are more concerned with discussing their family as a separate social group.

Some things haven't changed, though. The word royal occurs frequently in the context of family in both the 1990s and 2010s data. However another famous family, the Addams family, have further reason to be gloomy since they appear to have dropped out of common discussions.

 

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Cambridge University Press