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Linguistic adventures with Helen Zaltzman for Radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm

Linguistic adventures with Helen Zaltzman for Radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm
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Location:

United Kingdom

Networks:

PRX

Radiotopia

Description:

Linguistic adventures with Helen Zaltzman for Radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm

Language:

English


Episodes

106. Typo Demom

9/15/2019
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Ever misspelled a word or committed a typo? It wasn’t your fault; you were demonically possessed. Ian Chillag from Everything is Alive podcast introduces us to Titivillus, the typo demon. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/typo-demon. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. The Allusionist live show No Title is heading off on a tour of North...

Duration:00:23:33

105. F'ood

9/3/2019
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When is cheese not cheese, or crab not crab? When it’s spelled cheez or krab or even ch’eese or cra’b… Novelty spellings for foods-that-aren’t-made-out-of-the-thing-they-sound-like-they’re-made-out-of go back a pretty long way - ‘cheez’ was THE cheese-like substance of the 1920s - but right now, with plant-based foods on the rise, we’re seeing more of them. Branding consultant and name developer Nancy Friedman casts her expert glance over the apostrophes and deliberate misspellings on...

Duration:00:31:42

104. Words into Food

8/17/2019
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It’s Food Season at the Allusionist. Last episode we learned all about compiling recipes, turning food into words. This time, we meet someone who turns words into food - no, she doesn’t make Alphabetti Spaghetti. When Kate Young of the Little Library Cafe spots a foodstuff or a feast in a novel, she finds ways to cook it in reality, whether it’s delicious (Babette’s Feast), evil (Edmund’s Turkish delight in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) or poisonous (the crab and avocado in The Bell...

Duration:00:18:32

103. Food Into Words

8/5/2019
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When recipe writing is done well, the skill and effort involved might not be evident. But explaining the different steps clearly so that people of varying culinary abilities and equipment can cook it, and indeed want to make it, and translating flavour and physical actions and sensory experiences into words - all that takes work. Recipe writers MiMi Aye and Felicity Cloake and cookbook editor Rachel Greenhaus consider the verbal ingredients of a well-written recipe. Find out more at...

Duration:00:28:49

102. New Rules

7/13/2019
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I don’t know exactly when or where, but at some point in the past few years, I stopped putting punctuation at the end of sentences. Why? The internet made me do it! Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch, cohost of Lingthusiasm podcast and the author of the new book Because Internet, explains how the internet changes the rules of language. Find out more at theallusionist.org/new-rules. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow,...

Duration:00:21:50

101. Two Or More

6/26/2019
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Oysters, fragrances, canoeing, space stations, God, hats, and of course people - the word ‘bisexual’ has described a great deal of different things, with different meanings, in its fairly short existence. And that whole time, it has had a pretty bumpy ride. Mark Wilkinson studied 70 years of Times newspapers to trace how the British mainstream press used the term. Find out more at theallusionist.org/bisexual. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at...

Duration:00:29:30

56+12. Joins & Pride

6/7/2019
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To celebrate Pride Month, I’m playing two of the Allusionist episodes that have stuck with me the most during the show’s existence. The first is Joins. You listeners talk about your particular experiences in your trans bodies, dealing with the available vocabulary for sex and the associated body parts. (Content note: the episode contains language pertaining to sex and the associated body parts.) Second is Pride: the story of how that word was chosen in 1970 for LGBTQ Pride events. Find...

Duration:00:31:36

100. The Hundredth

5/27/2019
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To mark the 100th* episode of the Allusionist, here’s a celebratory parade of language-related facts: some of your favourites from the Allusionist back catalogue, some of my favourites from the Allusionist back catalogue, and a load of fresh facts making their Allusionist debut. *short hundred, not long hundred. Thanks for listening to the Allusionist! If you’ve liked any of the 100 episodes, tell someone else about it. Content note: this episode contains swears. Find out more about this...

Duration:00:33:31

99. Polari

5/12/2019
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When there were no safe spaces to be gay, Polari allowed gay men to identify and communicate with each other, and to keep things secret from outsiders. Professor Paul Baker, author of the Polari dictionary and the new book Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language, explains how Polari emerged from criminal cant and London’s theatres and docks to be used a code language for gay men in the oppressive 1950s - and then, not long after, it entered the slang lexicons of the...

Duration:00:34:57

98. Alter Ego

4/26/2019
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Today: three pieces about alter egos, when your name - the words by which the world knows you - is replaced by another for particular purposes, such as competing in roller derby, writing popular but disreputable detective novels, or being legally anonymous, unidentified, or fake. NB There is one strong swear in this episode. Find out more about this episode and the people and facts in it at theallusionist.org/alter-ego. The all new Allusionist live show, No Title, is touring in New...

Duration:00:33:00

97. The Future is Now?

4/11/2019
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“There are two ways to say ‘The future is now’: you can say it optimistically, like, ‘The future is now! Isn't that cool?’ Or you could be like, ‘The future is now, and we're totally screwed.’” Rose Eveleth, of the future-envisioning podcast Flash Forward, tracks the past and present of one of her favourite phrases. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/future. The all new Allusionist live show, No Title, is touring in New Zealand and Australia. Visit...

Duration:00:17:48

96. Trust

3/26/2019
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“Trust isn't a brand that you should use. It's a social glue that, when it breaks down, has really huge consequences to our lives.” Trust expert and author Rachel Botsman explains why we need to protect this word that has remained steadfast throughout its existence, but may now be too popular for its own good. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/trust. The all new Allusionist live show, No Title, is heading to New Zealand! Tickets for Auckland, Wellington and...

Duration:00:21:10

95. Verisimilitude

3/10/2019
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When you’re watching a fantasy or science fiction show, and the characters are speaking a language that does not exist in this world but sounds like it could - that doesn’t happen by accident, or improvisation. A lot - a LOT! - of work goes into inventing new languages that sound real. Conlanger David Peterson talks about how he created languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/verisimilitude. The Allusionist's online home is...

Duration:00:31:13

94. Harsh Realm

2/21/2019
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On 15 November 1992, the New York Times printed a ‘Lexicon of Grunge’, a list of slang terms from the Seattle music scene. ‘Harsh realm’ = bummer. ‘Wack slacks’ = old ripped jeans. ‘Swingin’ on the flippity-flop’ = hanging out. Not familiar with any of these? It’s OK, that’s not because you’re a cob nobbler (= loser). They were all made up. By Megan Jasper. Now the CEO of Sub Pop records, she recounts her linguistic prank. Find out more about this episode at...

Duration:00:29:12

93. Gossip

2/9/2019
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‘Idle’, ‘trivial’, ‘scurrilous’: the word ‘gossip’ is often accompanied by uncomplimentary adjectives. But don’t dismiss it; from childbirth to Hollywood to political analysis to whisper networks, gossip may be more useful and serious than you realise. Lainey Lui, founder of laineygossip.com, and Buzzfeed News’ senior culture writer (and doctor of celebrity gossip) Anne Helen Petersen explain why. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/gossip. NB there are a few swears in...

Duration:00:20:06

92. To Err Is Human

1/24/2019
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If you wince when you hear someone say “a whole nother level”, “hone in on” or “right from the gecko”, here’s some bad news: you might have to get used to it. The English language is full of words and expressions that were mistakes that stuck around. Countdown’s Susie Dent holds our hands and takes us on a tour of misspellings, mishearings, scrambled letters and bear cubs. In the new Minillusionist at the end of the episode, we’re back on your favourite subject: swearing! And why the blazes...

Duration:00:20:37

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, eponyms and scandals ending in -gate. It’s available exclusively if you donate any amount to Radiotopia’s 2018 fundraiser from now until it...

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 fall of superhero capes, the post-WW1 trend for nudism, and more. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/bonus2018. There is one swear in this episode. The...

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 more about the nonprofit Jim and Dylan now run, donate, and get involved. The Allusionist is a member of Radiotopia from PRX, a...

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 one swear word in this episode. See if you can spot it.** Get very cute T-shirts, totes and onesies with an exclusive typing artwork by Eleni Kalorkoti at...

Duration:00:19:27