Finally the final word. Definitive answers below!
Firstly, this is a follow up post to two previous posts:
… where I finally give into the prevailing tide.
With the ongoing conversation on the usage of Mentee vs Mentoree it occurred to me that there is a measure that will allow us to get a sense on usage.
Usage after all is one of the great arbitrators of nomenclature.
Google Ngrams is a fascinating project that was developed out of the Google books project.
A considerable amount of number crunching was done of all of the words (some 500 billion of them) that were scanned by google from a range of books dating back several centuries. Specifically the researchers catalogued the frequency of occurrence of important words and phrases. Ted has a fascinating talk were they explain how they did this.
My suspicion is that this is the best open access resource we have to track the history of word usage. The accuracy of this tool as a measure of real historical usage is difficult to lock down. Any systematic error would be a factor of the number and types of books that Google scanned in, in comparison to the number and types of books that are in existence. My suspicion is that if there is a systematic error prevailing this data it will be a small one. So that if we see a big difference in usage between Mentee and Mentoree we can safely assume a preferred usage.
So, despite all my objections and to join the common purpose of understanding, which is after all the point of language, Mentee it is.
The people have spoken (or in the case, written).