Two graphs reveal how newspapers used the word ‘ukelele’ and ‘ukulele’ as the name of the four-stringed wooden instrument (graphs are not at the same scale, each show the relative numbers of news articles etc. using one or the other word):
The graph for ‘ukelele’ doesn’t seem to follow my perceptions of the ups and downs in the popularity of the uke quite as well as the graph for ‘ukulele’, that is: —
– rise to peak from 1900 to 1926 (Hawaiian craze then the jazz age),
– a fall during the 1930s (depression),
– a blip up in the 1940s (WW2 in the Pacific) followed by
– a more solid return in the 1950s (Arthur Godfrey) and mid 1960s,
– then down again until the more recent rise in the 1990s.
The word ‘ukelele’ seems to appear at a more constant rate across the years with peaks in the 1920s and 1990s/2000s and dip in the 1930s.
Why the difference? Who knows. Personally, it could simply mean that I’ve misunderstood things, which is a common happening.