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The Allusionist

Author: Helen Zaltzman for Radiotopia

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Linguistic adventures with Helen Zaltzman, TheAllusionist.org.

A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
99 Episodes
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94. Harsh Realm

2019-02-2200:28:491

92. To Err Is Human
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 are there all these fake acronym etymologies for swears?Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/err.Follow Susie Dent on Twitter @susie_dent for regular doses of etymology, and to keep up with her writing and tour dates.The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow and facebook.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 January 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.• Babbel, the no.1 selling language-learning app in the world. Try it for free at babbel.com or download the Babbel app.

92. To Err Is Human

2019-01-2400:20:159

91. Bonus 2018
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 Allusionist is a member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the best podcasts on the interwaves. Hear all the shows at http://radiotopia.fm – and if you can afford to help our shows keep going, become a donor in our 2018 fundraiser at https://www.radiotopia.fm/donate-2018z.The Allusionist’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow. And come to see the debut performance of the brand new Allusionist 2019 live show at SF Sketchfest, 7.30pm 25 January! Tickets are on sale now: https://tinyurl.com/allusionistSFsketchfest2019Thanks to today’s sponsors:SQUARESPACE. Design and run a website with ease using Squarespace. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and for 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain, use the code ALLUSION.MYTHOLOGIES. Subscribe to the new Mythologies podcast from Parcast in your podblaster of choice, or find it at parcast.com/mythology.

91. Bonus 2018

2018-12-1600:17:428

88. Name Changers
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 at the Allusionist, along with episode 83. Yes, As In, about having a name that is more usually a noun or adjective; 86. Name Therapy, about the issues people face with their names; and 87. Name v. Law, about the Icelandic Naming Committee and a name change that took 25 years.The Allusionist live tour is ON NOW, at cities in the US and Canada during October and November 2018: show listings are at http://theallusionist.org/events.The Allusionist’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the best podcasts on the interwaves. Hear all the shows at http://radiotopia.fm.Thanks to today’s sponsors:SQUARESPACE. Design your website at squarespace.com/allusion, and use the offer code ALLUSION to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.BOMBAS. Shop for expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and save 20% by entering the offer ALLUSIONIST in the checkout code space.

88. Name Changers

2018-11-0400:28:262

86. Name Therapy
“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 name your baby/future adult, so their name works shouted across a playground, whispered into an ear, scribbled on a coffee cup. She also deals with your concerns about being named after a relative or parent’s ex, having a name that elicits playground taunts, or doesn’t describe you as an individual at all.Find more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/name-therapy.The Allusionist live tour is ON NOW, at cities in the US and Canada during October and November 2018: show listings are at http://theallusionist.org/events.The Allusionist’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the best podcasts on the interwaves. Hear all the shows at http://radiotopia.fm.Thanks to today’s sponsors:SQUARESPACE. Design your website at squarespace.com/allusion, and use the offer code ALLUSION to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.BOMBAS. Shop for expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and save 20% by entering the offer ALLUSIONIST in the checkout code space.

86. Name Therapy

2018-10-0800:27:268

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Comments (18)

Adam Gelatt

hell yeah

Feb 22nd
Reply

Luke Baylie

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

Feb 13th
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Eric Anderson

words can have subtleties and nuances of meaning of course but when does a word cease to be that word? gossip may contain some truth but inherently the word mean not trustworthy and damaging.

Feb 11th
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Luke Baylie

Eric Anderson did you not listen to the episode?

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
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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
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Kyle Miller

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

Nov 3rd
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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
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Miaozi Li

I would say "I meh the Beatles"

Aug 25th
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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
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Ellen Broadley

l it it l it I you like

May 13th
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Tom Dalliston

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

Jan 10th
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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
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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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