Verbatim

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 1, Spring

As the Word Turns: Brief Lives, Brief Loves
"Words have wings. You know the epithet, Winged Words, which Homer gives them, and a Syrian poet imagines them as a species of bird, those fleeting creatures escaping the memory all too rapidly unless they are netted in writing." It is obvious from...
Confessions of a Verbivore
I am a wordstruck, word bethumped, word besotted, wordaholic, unrepentant verbivore. Carnivores eat flesh and meat; piscivores eat fish; herbivores consume plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. I am such a creature. My whole life I have...
Emails to an Etymologist
The recent publication of my book on etymology (1) led to many broadcast interviews, as a result of which I now seem to be on a list for people wanting to email me with weird ideas for programmes (you've heard of A-list celebrities? Mine must surely...
Ex Cathedra
This issue has been delayed in part, not just because of the usual factors (press of other work, delays of one kind or another that turn days into weeks and weeks into months) but also (I'm sure) because I was procrastinating about writing this particular...
Horribile Dictu
"What is the most challenging aspect of being Home Secretary?" the holder of that senior British government position was asked in a magazine interview. Counterterrorism, he said, was pretty challenging, "but the broader, ongoing issue is actually...
How to Tawk like a New Yawker
Some time ago I received an email from William Satire's research assistant. "For a special issue on New York (a survival guide for newcomers and immigrants)," she wrote, "can you give Mr. Satire a rundown on New York--specific pronunciation and what...
Journo's Boffo Lingo: The Slang of Daily Variety
Those who for the first time open up Daily Variety, the trade paper of Hollywood and the American entertainment industry, are often baffled and stymied by the paper's use of language. Take, for example, this headline, "'KING' NIPS SHIP WITH 11 NOMS"...
Mongo No like Legging: Family Expressions Deserving Wider Recognition
In 1962, Allen Walker Read published an article entitled "Family Words in English" (American Speech Vol. 37, No. 1, February 1962, pp. 5-12). In it, he gathered together a number of expressions not found in dictionaries but used within nuclear or extended...
Murder! She Ejaculated
"When in Rome" by Ngaio Marsh is an example of what good writing is all about--detailed plotting, superb characterization, word pictures of Rome of la dolce vita. All combine--not in a roman a clef, but in a Roman cliffhanger. Before you run down to...
Subversion by Adverb
English provides a rich variety of adverbs that can be used to modulate the punch of language that they accompany--to either soften its blow, or more often, to ramp it up. Like anything that is free and in abundant supply, these tireless soldiers...
Untitled
High on the list of things I find no less annoying than the eyesore presence of the Universal Product Code on magazine cover art and colorized TV prints of classic films noir is the untitled painting. My response to untitled paintings is well-phrased...
Who Put the Nick in My Name?
When I was 13 years old I did something nobody in my family had ever done before. My mother, sisters, brother and a horde of relatives could not understand how a member of this happy family could be so rebellious. What had I done? I did not get...
"Year of Languages" Radio Series Available
"Year of Languages" Radio Series Available As part of the "Year of Languages" (YOL) celebration, the College of Charleston and the National Museum of Language have jointly sponsored development and distribution of a series of fifty-two radio spots...
Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.