Verbatim

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 1, Winter

A Column on Columns
When my nephew wanted to know about Greek columns, I figured I didn't need recourse to the dictionary. Like most students of my generation, I learned the three basic types: Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. "Ionic is the simplest," I began my lecture....
Epistolae
The Prostrate Prostate Syndrome * My own (Revised) General Theory Of Evolutionary Linguistics (See part II, section 4, sub-para (iii)), In point of fact, actually predicts That, quite significantly above chance, Demotic pressures...
Fancy a Viking, Sooty?
It is often said that Japanese is one of the hardest languages for Westerners to master. True or not, it is by no means the only linguistic challenge awaiting newly-arrived expats. They also have to come to grips with the unique variety of English...
Favorite Word Contest Results. (Ex Cathedra)
Last year sometime (we're very exact here at VERBATIM world headquarters) we asked you to send us your favorite words. Not necessarily the words whose meaning you most admired, but the words you found a joy to say, write and hear (and as some of you...
Horribile Dictu
"The multibillion-dollar sportswear company Nike admitted yesterday that it `blew it' by employing children in Third World countries," says a newspaper report. The use of teen slang in glaringly inappropriate contexts seems to be a rapidly growing...
L33t-Sp34k
If you are older than fifteen and only use your computer for e-mail and balancing your checkbook, or--quel horreur--have no computer at all, then you probably aren't familiar with the preferred online communication style of online gaming geeks, hacker...
Palaver Sauce: A Thematic Selection of West African Proverbs
"If you never offer your uncle palmwine, you'll not learn many proverbs," prompts a Ghanaian saying. The advice seems to have been well-heeded. Proverbs throughout West Africa are in plentiful supply. Naming ceremonies, marriages, funerals; conversations...
Rendering the Language of Daad
I picked up a book at random. "Master, it's not written!" "What do you mean? I can see it's written. What do you read?" "I am not reading. There are not letters of the alphabet, and it is not Greek. They look like worms, snails, fly dung...."...
The Slang of the Day
In 1901, the citizens of Colorado Springs filled a metal chest with letters, photographs, and other materials, and sealed it up until 2001. When we opened the chest at Colorado College on January 1 of this year, we found this letter from D. Russ Wood...
Unexpected Surprises
It was back in a creative writing class in college, and we had to do a paper on a visit to a museum. "The best surprises," I began, "are those that happen unexpectedly." It might have been my first non-sequitur in print, but I think, after 8,000...
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