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The Allusionist

Author: Helen Zaltzman for Radiotopia

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Adventures in language: TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
110 Episodes
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104. Words into Food

104. Words into Food

2019-08-1700:17:422

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 Jar).Find out more at theallusionist.org/words-into-food.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 is coming to London in September. For all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.Also! I’m making a NEW PODCAST! Veronica Mars Investigations, wherein Jenny Owen Youngs (of Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast) and I investigate every episode of Veronica Mars from the beginning. Find Veronica Mars Investigations in your podcast-getting app of choice, and at VMIpod on the social medias and .com.In August 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text **ALLUSIONIST **to 484848 to try it for free.• Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.
103. Food Into Words

103. Food Into Words

2019-08-0500:26:096

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 theallusionist.org/food-into-words.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 is coming to London in September. For all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.In August 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text **ALLUSIONIST **to 484848 to try it for free.• Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.
102. New Rules

102. New Rules

2019-07-1400:20:095

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, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. And it’s our annual survey season! Could you do me a big ole favour and spend a few minutes filling in the Survlusionist at surveynerds.com/allusionist? I will, of course, be using your opinions and information for nothing but the most nefarious purposes (like, er, trying to make the show better for you).In July 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.• Remember Reading, a new family podcast from HarperCollins about classic children’s books. Find it on your podcast apps and at RememberReading.com.
101. Two Or More

101. Two Or More

2019-06-2600:28:239

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 twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In June 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the app that teaches you a new language with confidence. If you’re in the USA, text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try a Babbel lesson for free. Elsewhere? Check out the courses at babbel.com and on the Babbel app.•  Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.
56+12. Joins & Pride

56+12. Joins & Pride

2019-06-0700:29:377

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 out more at theallusionist.org/joins-pride-rerun.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In June 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the app that teaches you a new language with confidence. If you’re in the USA, text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try a Babbel lesson for free. Elsewhere? Check out the courses at babbel.com and on the Babbel app.•  Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.
100. The Hundredth

100. The Hundredth

2019-05-2700:32:299

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 episode at theallusionist.org/hundredth.The Allusionist live tour of the new show, No Title, has landed in Australia! Get your tickets for Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin from theallusionist.org/events.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In May 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the app that teaches you a new language with confidence. If you’re in the USA, text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try a Babbel lesson for free. Elsewhere? Check out the courses at babbel.com and on the Babbel app.• Beer52, the craft beer discovery club. Each month they’ll deliver to you eight different craft beers, PLUS a snack, PLUS a copy of the award-winning Ferment magazine. If you’re in the UK, Beer52 will give you your first case for free; you just need to pay the £5.95 postage. Claim your free case today at beer52.com/allusionist.• Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.
99. Polari

99. Polari

2019-05-1200:33:155

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 general public, via popular sketch comedy and the mouth of an annoyed princess.Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/polari.The all new Allusionist live show, No Title, is touring in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve added extra shows in Christchurch and Melbourne, and will also be on in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. Leg it to theallusionist.org/events to get tickets.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In May 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the app that teaches you a new language with confidence. If you’re in the USA, text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try a Babbel lesson for free. Elsewhere? Check out the courses at babbel.com and on the Babbel app.• Beer52, the craft beer discovery club. Each month they’ll deliver to you eight different craft beers, PLUS a snack, PLUS a copy of the award-winning Ferment magazine. If you’re in the UK, Beer52 will give you your first case for free; you just need to pay the £5.95 postage. Claim your free case today at beer52.com/allusionist.
98. Alter Ego

98. Alter Ego

2019-04-2700:30:512

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 Zealand and Australia. We’ve added extra shows in Wellington and Christchurch; Melbourne already sold out; so rush to theallusionist.org/events to get tickets for Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In April 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the app that teaches you a new language with confidence. If you’re in the USA, text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try a Babbel lesson for free.
97. The Future is Now?

97. The Future is Now?

2019-04-1100:16:511

“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 theallusionist.org/events for information about venues, dates and tickets for shows in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and a couple more TBA Australian cities.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In April 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Babbel, the app that teaches you a new language with confidence. If you’re in the USA, text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try a Babbel lesson for free.
96. Trust

96. Trust

2019-03-2600:20:296

“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 Christchurch are on sale now; find out more at theallusionist.org/events. Australia: you’ll be our next stop.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.In March 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.• Molekule, a complete reinvention of the air purifier. For $75 off your first order, use the discount code ALLUSIONIST at the checkout at molekule.com.• American Masters, the PBS podcast featuring new conversations with contemporary artists and cultural figures, along with a mix of previously unreleased interviews from the award-winning documentary film series. Subscribe in your podgatherer of choice.
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Comments (17)

Umut Bayındır

amazingly put, thanks everyone who tried to express themselves in the best way they can

Jun 10th
Reply

mattters

hell yeah

Feb 22nd
Reply

Luke Baylie

Clarke Gable did work as a lumber Jack in his youth.

Feb 13th
Reply

Anyssa Ball

I knew aglet because of Phineas and Ferb

Dec 20th
Reply

Addy Gator

I love the show! You're the wordiest gal on my playlist. I can't get enough word knowledge. Thank you for being awesome!

Nov 13th
Reply

Richard Napolitano

Nobody other than J.R.R. Tolkien created the multiple versions of elven languages used in Lord of the Rings. He was a linguistic expert and made all of the languages used in the LOTR universe.

Nov 7th
Reply

Kyle Miller

I love this episode. I've listened to it repeatedly!

Nov 3rd
Reply

Cheesecake Lasagna

I haven't even heard a single clippet from this podcast but the visuals got me already! Graphic designer-orgasmic. lol

Oct 3rd
Reply

Lisa Liggins

E.11. Dan sounds just like Stephen Colbert. I couldn't get over it.

Sep 8th
Reply

Miaozi Li

I would say "I meh the Beatles"

Aug 25th
Reply

Luke Baylie

imagineer! I recently got to hang out with one. Very interesting guy. From Disney to NASA he's made some cool stuff

May 19th
Reply

Ellen Broadley

l it it l it I you like

May 13th
Reply

Tom Dalliston

is this episode directly copied from word of mouth on BBC radio 4?

Jan 10th
Reply

iTunes User

I listened to the first two podcasts and was amazed as its witty fun and has a lot of little history info in each segment that shows how much work the podcaster put into research, yet it's edited down into a quick 15 -20 minute session in case you have a short attention span so that there is no danger of you having to rewind because your mind wandered off somewhere! Looking forward to the third podcast! Bruce

Aug 30th
Reply

iTunes User

What a voice, what fun: quick and quick-witted podcasts that pack so much into so few minutes.

Aug 30th
Reply

iTunes User

Yes! We've finally got a podcaster who doesn't mince words in her practice of mincing their meanings. More than just linguistics, The Allusionist takes a crack at history, culture and current affairs with a cheeky wit that almost smarts. Worst thing about this podcast is the wait—2 weeks between episodes? Oh where will I get my word on till then? Maybe if I listen to Lexicon Valley at double speed mashed up with reruns of Language Bites, then I'll come close, but really Helen, must you be so allusive? Yes, you must. Best new pod of 2015!

Aug 30th
Reply

Jim Driscoll

Helen is a snarky pedant, just like me. Love her show.

Aug 20th
Reply
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