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 XVII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XVII1Peterson, Max C.The Language of the Law XVII1Sypnowich, PeterNeedless to Say XVII1Pomfrit, D.A.Verbal Analogies V--Divination XVII2Pascal, PaulWhat's in a Roman Name? XVII2Bach, ZelligThe Scandalous Yiddish Guide of...

A Quick Fox Jumps over the Cwm Fjord-Bank Glyph Biz

Russell Slocum Reading, Pennsylvania A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog is a popular grammar school writing exercise incorporating all 26 letters of the alphabet in a 33-letter sentence. For those wishing to shorten the lesson, it may also be the seed of an...

Pairing Pairs

The clues are given in items lettered (a-z); the answers are given in numbered items which must be matched with each other to solve the clues. In some cases, a numbered word may be used more than once, but after all matchings have been completed, one numbered word...

Up or Down to You

John Musgrave Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk Robb Wilton, that acclaimed and dearly-loved British comedian of the thirties and forties, introduced one of his best wartime monologues with the classic first lines, "The day war broke out, my wife said to me, 'It's up to you!' I...

Erin McKean

Erin McKean has wanted to be a lexicographer since she was eight years old. After reading an article in the newspaper about the publishing of the supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, she realized that making dictionaries would be a cool job. (Luckily, she...

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....

What’s the French for “Fiddle de dee”?

What’s the French for "Fiddle de dee"? Margaret of Scotland, Wife of Louis XI, provides an answer for Lewis Carroll Here’s a question to explore, A query Alice merely parried When she was examined for The right to wear the crown she carried, And to be a pawn no more....

Preposition Pollution

Foreigners trying to learn English often have more trouble with our prepositions than with any other feature. But I see and hear so many awkward uses of prepositions lately that I think we all have more trouble with them than with any other feature--and more trouble...

All about All

In the movie Spartacus,1 the Roman general, Crassus, ensures the cooperation of the slave dealer, Batiatus, by making him the following promise: "I authorize you to be the agent for the sale of all survivors." When Crassus wins the final battle and orders that all...

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...

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....

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...

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...

On Blue Moons, and Others

Nature has favored us with a single large satellite with two felicitous peculiarities: It always turns the same face towards us, and it appears exactly the same size in the sky as our sun. The latter property makes a total solar eclipse, if we are fortunate enough to...

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,...

Antedate Dictionary Citations

David Shulman New York City this article originally appeared in VERBATIM vol 2. no. 2, in February 1976 In VERBATIM II, 1, appeared an interesting article on dictionary citations in general. This article, however, is intended to complement it by describing only a...

Letters

Dear Sir: Just a couple of SIC!s from Vol. 24 No. 1. 1. In the article "The Last Pibroch", the author writes of clan chiefs memorizing a few words of Gaelic "to impress visiting dignatories." Is this the Gaelic for "dignitaries"? 2. Concerning Odet's use of the word...

New issue on the way!

Vol. 32 No. 1 is making its way to the printer tomorrow; check out the table of contents for the new issue:Are Prepositions Necessary? by Rosemarie OstlerHanky-Panky, Hugger-Mugger, and Other Reduplicative Rhyming Compounds, by Amy Shuffelton and Jessy RandallThe...

I May Already Be a Wiener

Gary Wiener Pittsford, New York As a startup on my computer I have this soundbite: Homer Simpson, down on himself as usual, in dubious assessment of his self-worth, saying, "I am a WEE-NER." Homer surely evokes a good chuckle from his audience, and best of all, the...

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

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

DigitalDiningRoom.com – free storytelling and blogging lessons

http://storybistrocourses.com – free courses on branding, blogging, and marketing

preparing-faculty.org – preparing future faculty program

Visit bonuspromocode.com for promo code reviews and online deals.

Or check out BonusCodePromos.co.uk for UK promotions.

GPSTS.org – Harvard poker society