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

Byte Bonding, Bit-bangers, and BLOBS

The mechanisms involved in the processes of word formation have been well documented by linguists; the wit, creativity, imagination and ingenuity displayed by the vernacular is inexhaustible. Magazines and newspapers, songs and screenplays all yield innumerable gems....

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...

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...

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 XXI

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXI1Bennett, MartinThe Lamps of Speech XXI1Tius, Mary M.Stress XXI1Bailey, BelSlang from Greyfriars XXI1Blackford, PaulSome English Loanwords in Thai XXI1Schindler, Marc A."Schindler's List" of Ashkenaz's Names XXI1Ramson,...

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:...

Pairing Pairs

I got a call this morning from someone who had picked up the VERBATIM book and needed one of the answers in Larry Urdang's Pairing Pairs explained. Which I did (possibly even to his satisfaction) ... but that motivated me to put up a link to Pairing Pairs here on the...

You’ve Got Game!

It's almost time for holiday shopping, so we've collated SIX YEARS of Gloria Rosenthal's "You've Got Game" game reviews here in one humongous blog post for you! Here are all the games she's reviewed -- have...

Authors and Articles Vol XV

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XV1Lederer, RichardGunning for the English Language XV1Bria, GeorgeDuende: Gypsy Soul and Something More XV1Bauerle, RichardThe Expanding Lexicon of One-letter Words XV1Davidson, J.A.The Joy of Scottish English: Chambers...

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...

Review of A Feminist Dictionary

Review of A Feminist Dictionary, by Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler Where to begin? With the unpleasant little entry for lexicographer? With the nasty piece on dictionary? with the inaccurate definition of grammar? the somewhat silly entry at language? It is...

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...

Widows, Orphans, and ?–Semantic Holes

Sol Saporta University of Washington (retired) In lectures delivered in Japan in 1987, Noam Chomsky discussed the notion of a ‘conceptual framework’ which he proposed as ‘a common human property’ He suggested that ‘the concepts . . . are available, independently of...

Verbatim Sampler

The World According to Student Bloopers Richard Lederer Concord, New Hampshire [Excerpt] One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following...

The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary

BIBLIOGRAPHIA The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary, by Paul Dickson , 592 pp. Harvest Books (Harcourt Brace and Company), 1999. Hardcover $35.00, Paperback $20.00. We speak baseball all the time. Even those of us who know nothing about the nuances of the game...

Bats as Symbols

In the United States and Europe, bats tend to be considered creatures of ill omen–it is assumed that there must be something wrong with a mammal that wears fur but flies through the air. What is worse, most bats fly at night, thus proving they are up to no good....

Graphic Account

As code, is how the alphabet Began in use. Visible ink. Cuneiform, which few regret, Did everything most people think Essential in a writing system For three millennia of sale, Gift, loan-could number, name, and list them, Hard copy, should agreement fail. It was so...

Intolerable Intolerance, Redux

EX CATHEDRA In Volume 1, Number 3 of Verbatim, Laurence Urdang, in an article entitled "An Intolerant View of Intolerance" wrote: "I consider myself–as, I am sure, everyone regards himself–a tolerant human being: I try to avoid prejudice in all things. Yet I must...

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