Verbatim is no longer publishing. However, this is a fan site dedicated to the legacy of Verbatim. Please enjoy the archives we were able to find and share with you all!

What’s Verbatim? Verbatim is a magazine devoted to what is amusing, interesting, and engaging about the English language and languages in general. We strive to bring fascinating topics out of the dusty obscurity of dry linguistic scholarship and polish them up for the general reader with an intelligent interest in language. We gently poke fun at the messes people can get into with English and the misunderstandings that arise from our common language. All this, plus a generous helping of book reviews, should provide an hour or two’s diversion for the person interested in language.

VERBATIM Online Issues

VERBATIM Articles, Book Reviews, News

Letters, We Get Letters

One of my favorite parts of VERBATIM has always been the letters to the editor. They're often more like bite-size articles than like traditional letters to the editor. This one, below, was the first letter in Volume I, No. 1, from Eric Hamp. Dear Sir:People often...

Authors and Articles Vol XXVII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXVII1Hargraves, OrinRendering the Language of Daad XXVII1Eskenazi, GeraldUnexpected Surprises XXVII1Galef, DavidA Column on Columns XXVII1Wood, D. RussThe Slang of the Day XXVII1Powell, SteveFancy a Viking, Sooty?...

Authors and Articles Volume XIII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XIII1Kahn, John EllisonPolysemania, Semantic Taint, and Related Conditions XIII1Lazerson, Barbara HuntPatterned Words and Phrases XIII1Queenan, JoeWhen Everything Was Everything XIII1Hirschberg, StephenPlaying Words with...

SIC! SIC! SIC!

Inclimate Weather Affects Defense the Most "You try to go in the gym and emulate as many activities as you can, but it’s still not the same." State College coach Jeff Kissell, in the State College Daily News, March 30, 1999. [Submitted by Bill Simon III, State...

New Blood in the Namestream

John Tittensor Goudargues, France The most respected mechanic in the village of St. Martin d’Ardèche, not far from where I live, is called Monsieur Salaud. And in another nearby village the job of mayor is held down by the amiable Madame Bordel. Perfectly...

Authors and Articles Vol XVI

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XVI1Baron, DennisWord Law XVI1Lederer, RichardThe Strange Case of Doctor Rotcod XVI1Greenwood, DouglasAnother Grammatical Game: The Foregone Conclusion XVI1Cannon, GarlandWord Droppings XVI1Rasmussen, Robert R.Knowing the...

Back Issue – Verbatim

Reading the Traces of James Murray in the Oxford English Dictionary - Finding and enjoying the strong personality of James Murray through his OED definitions. by John Considine Assing Around - The many collocations and meanings of assand arse. by Jessy Randall and...

VERBATIM on the Beach: A Summer Reading List

While neighboring sunbathers tan to the latest religious-conspiracy novel or Washington-insider tell-all, you can relax with one or another great book about language, some of them stranger than fiction or politics. For instance, it's difficult to put down Stefan...

Letter Writing Made Easy!

Letter Writing Made Easy! Featuring sample letters for hundreds of common occasions! Letter Writing Made Easy! Vol. 2: Featuring more sample letters for hundreds of common occasions! Both by Margaret McCarthy, 206 pp., Santa Monica, Santa Monica Press, 1998. ISBN...

Believe it or Not

A new issue! Several, in fact, but here's the Table of Contents for the first of the new issues:Qat in Yemen Gregory Johnson Three Limericks Max Gutmann Cuckoo for Crack Mark Peters My Genetic Code Louis Phillips User-Friendly Turkish Martin Gani Linguistic Larceny:...

VERBATIM, Summer 1999 Vol. 24 No. 3

Slayer Slang (Part 1) - The marvellous slang uses and inventions of the popular TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. by Michael Adams Identity and Language in the SM Scene - The importance of language in forming identity, and some misunderstandings that can arise. . . by...

Fun Things to Say in Spanish, French & English

Joseph K. Slap Los Angeles, California There are many people from Spanish-speaking nations here in southern California. It’s fun, for me and for them, to converse in Spanish. Those people get a big grin from my non-rhyming poem, in Spanish. I tell the people, "Quando...

Identity and Language in the SM Scene

For the past seven years, I have been studying the process of identity formation among SM/radical-sex practitioners living in and around New York City, in preparation for my doctoral thesis in cultural anthropology. Among the first things that I noticed when I started...

Word Words

Jon O. Newman United States Circuit Judge We need some new words to describe words. English already has several well known -onym words (from the Greek onyma meaning 'name'), such as synonym (same meaning), antonym (opposite meaning), and homonym (same sound). Less...

Slayer Slang (Part 1)

by Michael Adams Albright College Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS), a recent teen television hit, coins slang terms and phrases in nearly every episode, many of them formed in the usual ways, some of them at the crest of new formative tendencies, and some of them...

Epistolae 243

While reading William Dougherty’s article "Bromides" (XXIV/1) about the reluctance that physicians exhibit in speaking frankly about their patients’ life-threatening conditions, using euphemisms and circumlocutions, I remembered an experience I had that illustrates...

Classical Blather

What is so rare as a day in June? And what is so common asa rhyme for it? Speakers of English through the century seem tohave delighted in the sound of the double o, rotund and warm,gently terminating in the soft glide of the n "as if it wereloath to cease."1 Popular...

A Bawdy Language

A Bawdy Language: How A Second-Rate Language Slept Its Way to the Top, by Howard Richler, Stoddart, 1999. ISBN: 0-7737-3186-5. 208 pp. $15.95/£9.86 As you might guess from the title, A Bawdy Language is a rather irreverent and almost relentlessly topical romp through...

Noun Overuse Phenomenon Article

Bruce D. Price Word-Wise New York, New York Have you noticed a new "clunk-clunk" sound in the English language? Phrases such as "patient starter package" for sample? "Drug dosage forms" for pills? "Health cause" for sickness? "Increased labor market participation...

VERBATIM
The Language Quarterly
Language and linguistics for the layperson since 1974

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