Verbatim

Articles from Vol. 31, No. 2, Summer

As the Word Turns: Lincs Lingo
"That most brute and beastly of our shires" (Henry VIII); "Ah, Lincolnshire, all flats, fogs, and fens" (George III); "A very MINOR county, my dear" (P. G. Wodehouse). Walter Marsden (Lincolnshire, 1970) opined that its distinctive dialect was unspoiled...
Baseball, Chicago-Style
Almost everyone agrees that the recent adoption of the Chicago Manual of Style as the "Official Style Guide of the Chicago Cubs" was long overdue. "We've had the football tie-in for decades," says U of C English professor Archibald Lunch, judiciously...
Bringing Descriptive Linguistics into Everyday Conversation: A Cautionary Tale
A couple of years ago, I happened to be in one of those wait-all-afternoon lines for concert tickets in Atlanta and, to pass the time, I starting chatting with the woman in line in front of me. She seemed very nice, especially given the fact that she...
Classical Music Terms Unravelled (or Unravel-Ed)
The terminology preferred by classical musicians is, on the whole, pretty blackly humorous. To classical music fans this may come as a surprise, as classical music's image has never married with its reality. To the general public, orchestral players...
Dash It!
There are many misuses of the English language by which I am irritated: starting a sentence with an And or a But; the increasing use of the phrase for free (it is either for nothing or free); ending a sentence with a preposition; the placing of apostrophes...
Drawlery
The chimney sweep stopped by the other day for his annual visit, to clear the flume of various things gone up in smoke over the last year, and he was telling me about his recent visit to Smith Island--in Chesapeake Bay, where the natives are somewhat...
Drowned in Translation
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods ... The sylvan river Wye of Wordsworth's lines wanders poetically through the woods into the Severn Estuary, whereas, across the North Sea, the unsylvan river Where winds prosaically through the polders into...
Horrible Dictu
It's a bit like waking up to find yourself living in a different dimension, sometimes; you recognise most of the words, it's just the language that doesn't seem to make any sense. My new computer promises to "Import, repurpose and share digital content...
If Foul Is Fair, What Next?
Words and expressions originally used in sports have long spiced everyday English. Haymaker of boxing, horse racing's by a nose, marathoners' hitting the wall, and sudden death from football and hockey are just a few examples of crossover vernacular....
Metaphorically Speaking; or How to Hang on a Moment
Chul-soo sits alone. Gregarious by nature, Chul-soo would love nothing more than to swap stories with his classmates out in the hall. Instead he remains at his desk, eyes on his book, ears cocked for the voices of his returning classmates. Chul-soo's...
Old World Names for New World Fish
Because many species of fish are common to both sides of the Atlantic, English-speaking adventurers who sailed to the western side knew what to call a lot of the ones they caught off the North American coast. Wherever they found it, a salmon was a salmon,...
Professional Wrestling's Clandestine Jargon
That professional wrestling matches are performances rather than contests will come as little revelation to most, but until as late as the mid-1990s those in the industry believed it was a secret that must be protected at all costs. As with the culture...
Sportswriting
Once upon a time, in 1950's Brooklyn, the first newspaper I'd see in the morning was Hearst's tabloid New York Mirror. I flipped it over to see what the back page blared. And there is was: My Dodgers had won! Or, as the Mirror might have put it, "Brooks...
Thanks, but I Think I'll Pass on the Smashed Balls
It all started with a rabbit on whipped cream. I was in Prague when I found that odd-sounding dish on a menu. No, thanks, I thought, imagining Thumper splashing a cloud of whipped cream around the room. Before long I was tempted by an oven-baked joint--really,...
The Worthlessness of Lads and Lasses
The author of this article is neither a misanthrope nor a curmudgeon envious of other people's youth. He is an etymologist who thinks that he knows how the words lad and lass came about and is eager to publicize two discoveries, not entirely his own....
Translating for the Old Ball Game
For people like Roger Kahlon, translator for Hideki Matsui, the Japanese outfielder for the New York Yankees, the "Asian wave" of ballplayers coming to America has opened up a new world of possibilities and challenges. For years, American athletes, either...
Village People
Every racecourse, of the horse racing variety, that is, in Britain, has an area, formally known as the betting ring, or, more colloquially, the village, where the on-course bookmakers conduct their trade. Inhabitants of the village speak a language which...

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