In this study, we explore how direct speech is portrayed in English and Spanish Speech Framing Expressions (SFEs). The study has two aims. Firstly, we survey the use of verbs in SFEs and offer a comprehensive inventory of those verbs in English and Spanish as representatives of Germanic and Romance languages respectively in order to determine what verb meanings are used to cue direct speech, what lexical resources express these meanings, and how rich and varied these vocabularies are in the two languages. Secondly, the comparisons across the languages provide the basis for a theoretical contribution to the debate about general typological differences in the semantics and lexicalization patterns of verbs in Germanic and Romance languages to the area of verbs for speech and to meaning modelling in general. Five main semantic categories of verbs were identified: speech, activity, perception, cognition and emotion. We show that Spanish features a much more varied repertoire than English and makes more use of verbs related to the domains of thinking and reasoning, while the physical domain is the preferred one in the English data set. It emerges that even though the same types of lexical resources are available in both languages, the ways of describing direct speech vary greatly.