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A subset of this corpus, chosen for the Google Books Ngram Viewer, lends itself for quantitative judgments about the varying frequencies of words and phrases through five centuries of history.
The Ngram Viewer is based on a body of five million books, comprising more than 500 billion words, including 361 billion in English and 45 billion each in French and Spanish (Michel et al. In addition to these formal resources, anonymous bloggers, while not credentialed to speak with authority, can sometimes provide useful insights inadvertently through their usage or their thoughts about usage.
Authors include the noted philosophers Quine and iek, novelist Chinua Achebe, and the disk jockey Dick Clark, as in examples (1) through (4): Quantitative judgments about the relative frequencies of the different forms can only be given as rough approximations, due to a number of complicating factors arising from the nature of the available corpora.
Among the 16th- and 17th-century sources, both the Spanish and the Italian spellings are found, but both are so few that there is no statistical basis on which to claim that one is more frequent than the other.
Soon after the success of Doris Days version in English, the song was rewritten to be sung in many other languages, and in some of those languages, as well as in English, the phrase has been adopted by some speakers into their active vocabulary.
The present-day Internet provides rich resources for researching the history of the saying.
Alongside that function in the speech and thoughts of fictional characters, as a manifestation of an individuals fatalistic attitude toward a specific situationoccasionally in the 17th century, and later with increasing frequency, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries.Light can be shed on its popularity and various uses by means of searches in online linguistic corpora of Spanish, Italian, and English, designed for the purpose.In addition, the corpus of the Google Books project includes more than 15 million digitized books in many languages, many of whichespecially the older onescan be accessed and searched online, either in snippets or as whole text.Corpus searches show that the phrase has virtually no history in Spain or Italy: neither among proverbs nor in running prose.A possible origin in Middle French is suggested, but evidence of its grammaticality in that language is inconclusive.