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

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,...

Authors and Articles Vol XIX

XIX1Brashear, WilliamHocus Pocus XIX1Bernstein, Marc A.A Toast: To the Tautology XIX1Lowrey, BurlingInvestigating the Racqueteers XIX1Swift, BobJoin Me For a Spell XIX1Carver, Craig M.Etymology as Educated Guess XIX1Simpson, David L.Of "Coat-wearers" and "Kekiongas":...

Verbal Analogies

Dr. P.A. Pomfret 1. Long, narrow : Leptorrhinian :: Broad, Thick : ? (13) 2. Cival : Papal :: Registrar : ? (12) 3. Iron : Black :: Tin : ? (5) 4. Books : Bibliotheca :: Sculpture : ? (11) 5. Gristle : Cartilage :: Grounds of a House : ? (9) 6. Cold vegetable dish :...

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...

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...

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...

English English

This originally appeared in Vol. VII, No. 1 I am chuffed as bollocks about a piece I wrote earlier this year in what Americans quaintly describe as The London Times. Depending upon your understanding of the idiom, this means that I am either pleased or displeased,...

A Backhanded Pardon

"My Lord, I had forgott the Fart." Queen Elizabeth I, as told by Aubrey When Oxford first appeared at Court, He blushed to hear a loud report Behind him as he bent his knee Before Elizabeth, and she Must have shown she too had heard By uttering a witty word, Such as:...

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...

Scottish Proverbs

Scottish Proverbs, Compiled by the Editors of Hippocrene Books, i-xi +111 pp., New York, Hippocrene Books, 1998. ISBN 0-7818-0648-8. $14.95 "A fox always smells his own hole first," my mother, a lady of undiluted Highland Scottish descent, liked to say. As she uttered...

Authors and Articles Vol XX

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XX1Ayto, JohnThe Titled Proletariat XX1Bailey, BelRoundabout East Anglia XX1Tius, Mary M.Vestiges XX1Ingleson, SharonFuture Difficulties XX1Herman, Louis JayWhat's in an Article? XX1Balado-Lopez, DanielDeveloping...

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....

Our New Address

VERBATIM has moved, and despite our renewing the forwarding request several times, the Chicago Post Office has decided it would be easier to pretend we don't exist. So if your letter is returned, our new address is:PO Box 597302Chicago IL 60659Our old address may be...

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...

The Twelve Days of Christmas

We're not quite at the "partridge in a pear tree" stage of the month yet, but I thought you might all enjoy this review, by Larry Urdang, of Thomas L. Bernard's The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Mystery and The Meaning, from Vol. XXI/3: Professor Bernard, who teaches...

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...

Darn, Durn, Down, Doon, Damn

Dwight Bolinger Professor of Linguistics Emeritus Harvard University Minced oaths are etymological landmines, and if I were a better guesstymologist I probably would not tread on this one; but if it is a coincidence it is too good to be true, so here goes....

Laurence Urdang, Founding Editor

Laurence Urdang, VERBATIM's founding editor and one of the most prolific lexicographers of the English language, died August 21, in Connecticut.Here is the link to The New York Times obituary; Ben Zimmer posts about Larry on Language Log; and I think the best obituary...

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

http://letterfrequency.org – letter and word frequencies

Digital Dining Room – free storytelling and blogging lessons

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preparing-faculty.org – preparing future faculty program

USA Today Educate – free educational resources