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The Allusionist

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United States

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PRX

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English


Episodes

Extra special QUIZ!

12/18/2018
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For a bit of fun to celebrate Radiotopia’s 2018 fundraiser, this episode is a wordy quiz for you to play along with as you listen. Get a pen and paper, or fill in your answers online at http://theallusionist.org/2018quiz. Also! I’ve put together an Allusionist print-at-home puzzle book, featuring a wordsearch, crossword, some jollity with portmanteaus, … Continue reading Extra special QUIZ!

Duration:00:16:57

91. Bonus 2018

12/15/2018
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Throughout the year, the people who appear on the Allusionist tell me a lot of interesting stuff. Not all of which is relevant to the episode they initially appeared in, so I stash it away in preparation for this moment: the annual bonus episode! Get ready for gory 19th century London slang, the rise and … Continue reading 91. Bonus 2018

Duration:00:20:33

90. Dear Santa

11/30/2018
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Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker didn’t think too much of it when, every year, a few letters were delivered to their New York apartment addressed to Santa. But then one year, 400 letters arrived. And they decided they had to answer them. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/dear-santa, and visit http://miracleon22ndstreet.com to learn … Continue reading 90. Dear Santa

Duration:00:21:38

89. WPM

11/17/2018
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This is a story of feats of speed and endurance, of record-breakers, of champions… Typing champions. Recorded live at the Hot Docs Podcast Festival in the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto on 4 November 2018, WPM is performed by me and Martin Austwick. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/wpm. **There is … Continue reading 89. WPM

Duration:00:19:27

88. Name Changers

11/4/2018
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Why did you change your name? And why did you choose the name you chose? Listeners answer these two questions. Hear their stories of gender identity, family fallouts, marriages, divorces, doxxing, cults, and…just not liking your given name very much. Find more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/name-changers. This episode is part of Name Season here … Continue reading 88. Name Changers

Duration:00:29:41

87. Name v. Law

10/21/2018
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Iceland has quite exacting laws about what its citizens can be named, and only around 4,000 names are on the officially approved list. If you want a name that deviates from that list, you have to send an application to the Icelandic Naming Committee, whose three members will decide whether or not you’re allowed it. … Continue reading 87. Name v. Law

Duration:00:32:29

86. Name Therapy

10/8/2018
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“It’s the word that you use the most often and the soonest to describe yourself, and yet nobody’s really ever talked about how it kind of makes me feel like this.” Until Duana Taha, who, after a lifetime of feelings about her own unique name, became the Name Therapist. Duana offers advice on how to … Continue reading 86. Name Therapy

Duration:00:29:52

85. Skin Story

9/23/2018
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“I wanted a story that actually lives, and actually dies, and disappears.” In 2003, artist and author Shelley Jackson started the Skin Project: a story printed, word by word, as tattoos on volunteers. https://ineradicablestain.com/skindex.html Find more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/skin-story. The Allusionist live tour comes to the US, Canada, and Ireland during autumn 2018: … Continue reading 85. Skin Story

Duration:00:20:24

84. Trammels

9/8/2018
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Why would you write books or poems or plays with only one vowel? Or in palindromes? Or only using the example sentences in dictionaries? Sometimes you need to force yourself to jump a few hurdles (and perhaps the rest of the obstacle course) before your creativity will be unleashed. Find more about this episode at … Continue reading 84. Trammels

Duration:00:22:48

83. Yes, As In

8/26/2018
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“Really? As in the animal/foodstuff/music genre?” “Is that a stripper name?” “What were your parents thinking?” When your name is a word that is more usually a noun or adjective than a human moniker, you hear the same questions a lot. But there’s a story in every name, and yours is probably a more interesting story … Continue reading 83. Yes, As In

Duration:00:28:57

82. A Novel Remedy

8/12/2018
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When you’re feeling unwell, what’s the book you read to make yourself feel better? And why does it work? Clinical psychologist Jane Gregory explains why she sometimes prescribes novel-reading to her patients; and academic Guy Cuthbertson tells how post-WW1 Britain was soothed by Agatha Christie. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/convalescence. The Allusionist … Continue reading 82. A Novel Remedy

Duration:00:24:51

81. Shark Week

7/27/2018
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Today, we’re dipping into the Allusionist mailbag full of listeners’ linguistic requests, with the help of special guest Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder and The West Wing Weekly podcasts. What is the expression ‘beyond the pale’ on about? How do you express the absence of feeling? Does ‘testify’ have anything to do with testicles? Do avocados … Continue reading 81. Shark Week

Duration:00:27:41

Imaginary Advice: S.E.I.N.F.E.L.D.

6/29/2018
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Hello! I’m currently in hospital so am having to take a little time off work. Therefore, instead of a new Allusionist episode today, here’s my favourite audio piece I’ve heard this year: ‘S.E.I.N.F.E.L.D.’ from Ross Sutherland’s podcast Imaginary Advice. NB: the episode contains a couple of Strong Terms. Hear more Imaginary Advice episodes – some of my favourites … Continue reading Imaginary Advice: S.E.I.N.F.E.L.D.

Duration:00:27:39

80. Warm Front

6/16/2018
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Today will be fine. But wait: fine as in ‘OK’, fine as in ‘really rather good’, or fine as in ‘no precipitation’? When you’re a TV weather forecaster, you have to deal with the mismatch of your specialist vocabulary with that of the meteorological laypeople watching – as well as cover all the weather across … Continue reading 80. Warm Front

Duration:00:18:34

79. Queer

6/3/2018
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Strange or obtuse; a stinging homophobic slur; a radical political rejection of normativity; a broad term encompassing every and any variation on sexual orientation and gender identity: the word ‘queer’ has a multifarious past and complicated present. Tracing its movements are Kathy Tu and Tobin Low from Nancy podcast, Eric Marcus from Making Gay History, historian and author Amy Sueyoshi, and Jonathan … Continue reading 79. Queer

Duration:00:28:38

78. Oot in the Open

5/21/2018
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You are born and raised in a household speaking a language. Then you start going to school, and that language is banned. If you speak it, you’ll be punished physically or psychologically. Across your country, there are people like you who associate their first language with shame, or not even being a language at all. … Continue reading 78. Oot in the Open

Duration:00:26:21

42+43. Survival: The Key rerun

5/4/2018
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To accompany the current Allusionist miniseries Survival, about minority languages facing suppression and extinction, we’re revisiting this double bill of The Key episodes about why languages die and how they can be resuscitated. The Rosetta Stone and its modern equivalent the Rosetta Disk preserve writing systems to be read by future generations. But how do … Continue reading 42+43. Survival: The Key rerun

Duration:00:27:10

77. Survival part 1: Second Home

4/20/2018
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There are two main places in the world where the Welsh language is spoken: Wales, and the Chubut Province in Patagonia. How did this ancient language take root in rural Argentina, 12,000km away from its home base? Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/survival1. The Allusionist’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at … Continue reading 77. Survival part 1: Second Home

Duration:00:27:59

76. Across the Pond

4/6/2018
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Pavement/sidewalk; football/soccer; bum bag/fanny pack: we know that the English language is different in the UK and the USA. But why? Linguist Lynne Murphy points out the geographical, cultural and social influences that separate the common language. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/across-the-pond. The Allusionist’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at … Continue reading 76. Across the Pond

Duration:00:25:42

75. Ear Hustling

3/23/2018
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Today we’re going inside to open up the unofficial dictionary of San Quentin state prison, compiled by Earlonne Woods of Ear Hustle podcast. Content note: this episode contains some Adult Terms. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/ear-hustling. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the best podcasts … Continue reading 75. Ear Hustling

Duration:00:17:52