Oliver and I walked through Queens Square in Charlottetown early one evening last week and stopped to read the Boer War memorial. I noticed that it used the word “fellowcountrymen” as a single word, and was curious: it’s something that, if used at all, would be “fellow countrymen” today.
Was this a typo or common usage of the day?
To find out, I turned to the Google Ngram Viewer, which shows frequency in a corpus (a “big collection of books” in library-speak) of a word or phrase.
Compare this to “fellow countrymen” as two words and you see what it gave way to:
Meanwhile, “countrymen” itself is falling more out of favour every day:
What word or phrase has replaced “countrymen” today? Or perhaps none has? Makes me want to become a linguist to find out.