Cover image of The Allusionist
(1907)

Rank #37 in Arts category

Arts

The Allusionist

Updated about 8 hours ago

Rank #37 in Arts category

Arts
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Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman: TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Read more

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman: TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

iTunes Ratings

1907 Ratings
Average Ratings
1624
211
27
23
22

Lovely

By The Great Glass Alavator - Sep 18 2019
Read more
Like a quiet but delicious cup of tea for your ears

Entertaining and Informative

By Smores7 - Sep 16 2019
Read more
If you are looking for a podcast to help your vocabulary while entertaining you, this is it.

iTunes Ratings

1907 Ratings
Average Ratings
1624
211
27
23
22

Lovely

By The Great Glass Alavator - Sep 18 2019
Read more
Like a quiet but delicious cup of tea for your ears

Entertaining and Informative

By Smores7 - Sep 16 2019
Read more
If you are looking for a podcast to help your vocabulary while entertaining you, this is it.
Cover image of The Allusionist

The Allusionist

Updated about 8 hours ago

Rank #37 in Arts category

Read more

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman: TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Rank #1: 92. To Err Is Human

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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 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.

Jan 24 2019
18 mins
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Rank #2: 76. Across the Pond

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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 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.

Radiotopia is going on tour! Join us in May at theatres in Atlanta, Durham, DC, Philly, NYC and Boston. Get your tickets at http://radiotopia.fm/live. You can also see the Allusionist live in Australia – http://theallusionist.org/events

Today’s sponsors are Squarespace and Babbel. Start your website at http://squarespace.com/allusion and to get a 10% discount off your first purchase of a website or domain, use the code ALLUSION.

Learn a new language with Babbel and get 50% off your first 3 months: use the code ALLUSION when you go to http://babbel.com/allusion.

Apr 07 2018
23 mins
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Rank #3: 4. Detonating the C-Bomb

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WARNING: this episode contains lots of swearing and words which some of you may find offensive. If, however, you love offensive words, you will enjoy this episode, which is all about how the C-word doesn’t deserve to be the pariah of cusses.

Visit http://theallusionist.org/c-bomb to find out more about this episode. Tweet @allusionistshow, and convene at facebook.com/allusionistshow. Subscribe on iTunes http://tinyurl.com/iTunesAllusionist.

The Allusionist is a proud member of http://Radiotopia.fm for http://PRX.org.

Feb 11 2015
16 mins
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Rank #4: 101. Two Or More

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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 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.

Jun 26 2019
26 mins
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Rank #5: 3. Going Viral

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Remember when ‘viral’ used to only mean something bad, IE something that would make you ill or destroy your computer?

How things have changed. Tom Phillips from Buzzfeed UK explains the language they choose to make content go viral.

Visit http://theallusionist.org/viral to find out more about this episode. Tweet @allusionistshow, and convene at facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of http://Radiotopia.fm for http://PRX.org.

Jan 28 2015
14 mins
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Rank #6: 95. Verisimilitude

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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 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 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.
Babbel, the no.1 selling language-learning app in the world. Try it for free at babbel.com or download the Babbel app.
The Proprioceptive Writing Center. Find out about the upcoming West Coast USA courses in this meditative writing practice at pwriting.org.
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.

Mar 11 2019
28 mins
Play

Rank #7: 63. Evolution of Accents

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“Accent is identity. It’s a way of encoding and signaling – almost completely at an unconscious level for most people – who they feel like they are, who they want to be seen as, what group they feel like they belong to.” The podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz investigates how accents have evolved in the UK and USA.

Hear Twenty Thousand Hertz at http://20k.org and find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/evolution-of-accents.

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. Find all our podcasts at http://radiotopia.fm

Sep 15 2017
24 mins
Play

Rank #8: 72. Hey

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“Hey.”

“Going to the supermarket, want me to get you anything?”

“Puppies or ice cream?”

“What’s your glasses prescription?”

“I wanna ***** your *********.”

If you’ve used a dating app, maybe you’ve received one of the above messages from a stranger, or sent them. Striking up an interaction with someone is a tricky business. Why Oh Why and Longest Shortest Time host Andrea Silenzi opens up her phone to analyse the kinds of opening messages people send on dating apps, and how easily they can land badly.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/hey, and hear Andrea hosting The Longest Shortest Time podcast on your podblasters of choice.

Content note: this episode contains a couple of instances of Adult Language and references to Adult Behaviours.

Today’s sponsors are Squarespace – try it out at http://squarespace.com, and when you sign up, use the offer code ALLUSION – and Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller which you can hear on all the podcatchers and at https://www.inflectionpointradio.org.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the best podcasts on the interwaves. Hear them all at http://radiotopia.fm.

The show’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

Feb 09 2018
20 mins
Play

Rank #9: 83. Yes, As In

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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 than most.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/nounnames. WARNING: there are a few swears in it. (But none of the people have swear names, thankfully.)

The Allusionist live tour comes to the US, Canada, Britain and Ireland during autumn 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 Babbel for sponsoring this episode. Try their language-learning courses for free at babbel.com.

Aug 26 2018
26 mins
Play

Rank #10: 38. Small Talk

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“How are you?”

“Oh, fine – and you?”

“Yeah, not bad. Nice day today, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it was a bit chilly this morning, but now the sun’s come out…” [Continue until the lift arrives, or until the end of time.]

Small talk is usually not conveying much vital information, nor is it especially interesting. But beneath that comfort blanket of tedium lies a valuable social function.

There’s more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/smalltalk. Chitchat with me at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia.fm from PRX.org.

Jun 25 2016
12 mins
Play

Rank #11: 55. Namaste

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“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder wants people to stop saying ‘namaste’ after a yoga session.

There’s more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/namaste.

Stay in touch at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia.fm for PRX.org. Join us for Radiotopia’s live tour of west coast cities this May – http://radiotopia.fm/live.

May 05 2017
17 mins
Play

Rank #12: 33. Please

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There’s an ocean between Britain and the USA, but an even wider division between each country’s use of a particular word: ‘please’.

Linguists Lynne Murphy and Rachele De Felice explain how one nation’s obsequiousness is another nation’s obnoxiousness.

There’s more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/please. Please greet me at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia.fm from PRX.org. Radiotopia is having its first ever live show, featuring many of the shows performing new stories at the theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, 4th May 2016. It’ll be excellent! Get your tickets at http://radiotopia.fm/ace.

Apr 01 2016
14 mins
Play

Rank #13: 50. Under the Covers – part I

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Escape into the loving embrace of a romance novel – although don’t think you’ll be able to escape gender politics while you’re in there. Bea and Leah Koch, proprietors of America’s sole romance-only bookstore The Ripped Bodice, consider the genre; and publisher Lisa Milton scrolls through the 109-year history of the imprint that epitomises romance novels, Mills & Boon.

For more information about this episode, visit http://theallusionist.org/covers-i.

Find me at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia.fm from PRX.org.

Feb 08 2017
17 mins
Play

Rank #14: 74. Take A Swear Pill

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CONTENT WARNING: there is swearing in this episode. But the happy news is: swearing is good for you! Dr Emma Byrne, author of Swearing Is Good For You, explains how swearing can be beneficial to your physical health and emotional wellbeing, while Matt Fidler of Very Bad Words podcast gives some tips to ensure you swear properly to optimise the positive effects.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/swear-pill.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the best podcasts on the interwaves. Hear them all at http://radiotopia.fm, and see several of us perform live in May on the Radiotopia East Coast Tour. Tickets are on sale now at http://radiotopia.fm/live.

Today’s sponsors are:

i. Squarespace: start building your website at http://squarespace.com, and when you sign up, use the offer code ALLUSION for 10% off your first purchase of your website or domain.

ii. Babbel, the world’s no.1 selling language learning app. To get 50% off your first 3 months of learning one of 14 languages, go to http://babbel.com/allusion and use the code ALLUSION.

The show’s online home is http://theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

Mar 09 2018
25 mins
Play

Rank #15: 24. Spill Your Guts

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It’s cathartic; it’s a useful historical record; and it might help you behave better on public transport. Neil Katcher and Dave Nadelberg from Mortified discuss the art and practice of keeping a diary.

Find the Mortified podcast, stage shows, documentary, TV series and books at http://getmortified.com.

Roman Mars also stops by to talk about the Radiotopia fundraiser. To support the collective, become a donor at http://on.prx.org/radiotopia-forever.

Read more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/diaries. Say hello at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of http://Radiotopia.fm for http://PRX.org.

Nov 04 2015
17 mins
Play

Rank #16: 25. Toki Pona

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There’s a language which is said to be the smallest language in the world. It has around 123 words, five vowels, nine consonants, and apparently you can become fluent in it with around 30 hours’ study. It was invented by linguist Sonja Lang in 2001, and it’s called Toki Pona. And fellow Radiotopian Nate DiMeo, from the Memory Palace, decided we should learn it together.

Find the Memory Palace at http://thememorypalace.us/. Read more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/tokipona and say hello at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of http://Radiotopia.fm for http://PRX.org.

Nov 19 2015
17 mins
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Rank #17: 39. Generation What?

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Which are you: Millennial, Generation X, Baby Boomer, Silent Generation, an impressively young-looking Arthurian Generation? Or are you an individual who refuses to be labelled? Demographer Neil Howe, author Miranda Sawyer and Megan Tan, the host of Millennial podcast, consider whether the generational names are useful or reductive. Or both.

Read more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/generation-what. Seek me out at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia.fm from PRX.org.

Jul 13 2016
15 mins
Play

Rank #18: 93. Gossip

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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 this episode.

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 February 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.
The Proprioceptive Writing Center. Find out about the upcoming West Coast USA courses in this meditative writing practice at pwriting.org.

Feb 09 2019
18 mins
Play

Rank #19: 5. Latin Lives!

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Every week since September 1989, a radio station in Finland has broadcast a weekly news bulletin…in Latin.

WHY?

Let’s find out!

Visit theallusionist.org/latin to find out more about this episode. Tweet @allusionistshow, and convene at facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia.fm for PRX.org.

Feb 25 2015
11 mins
Play

Rank #20: 49. Bonus 2016

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Why is gaslighting ‘gaslighting’? What do bodily fluids have to do with personality traits? Why does ‘cataract’ mean a waterfall and an eye condition? And do doctors really say ‘Stat!’ or is that just in ER?

To round off 2016, here’s the bonus edition of The Allusionist, featuring listeners’ etymology requests and extra material from guests who’ve appeared on the show this year. For links and more information about the episode, visit http://theallusionist.org/bonus2016.

The show will return in early February. Meanwhile, catch up on the back catalogue at http://theallusionist.org, and stay in touch at http://facebook.com/allusionistshow and http://twitter.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist is a proud member of http://Radiotopia.fm from http://PRX.org.

Dec 30 2016
17 mins
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