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Rank #47 in Arts category

Arts
Literature

The Allusionist

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #47 in Arts category

Arts
Literature
Read more

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

1740 Ratings
Average Ratings
1483
194
22
22
19

Good one

By BradZync - Feb 20 2019
Read more
Thoughtful & well researched.

Thank you Roman Mars for turning me onto The Allusionist

By sallyD50 - Dec 26 2018
Read more
Brilliant, fascinating stories I can’t wait to share

iTunes Ratings

1740 Ratings
Average Ratings
1483
194
22
22
19

Good one

By BradZync - Feb 20 2019
Read more
Thoughtful & well researched.

Thank you Roman Mars for turning me onto The Allusionist

By sallyD50 - Dec 26 2018
Read more
Brilliant, fascinating stories I can’t wait to share
Cover image of The Allusionist

The Allusionist

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #47 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: 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 #2: 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
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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: 58. Eclipse

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It’s August 2007. Lauren Marks is a 27-year-old actor and a PhD student, spending the month directing a play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She’s in a bar, standing onstage, performing a karaoke duet of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’…and then a blood vessel in her brain bursts. When she wakes up in hospital, days later, she has no internal monologue, and a vocabulary of only forty words.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/eclipse, and more about Lauren at http://astitchoftime.com.

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

Jun 16 2017
23 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: 84. Trammels

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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 theallusionist.org/trammels. Jez Burrows is the author of the book Dictionary Stories, which is out now; find his work at jezburrows.com. Ross Sutherland makes the podcast Imaginary Advice; find him at rosssutherland.co.uk.

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 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.

Sep 08 2018
19 mins
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Rank #7: 69. How the Dickens stole Christmas

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Charles Dickens wrote about the plight of the impoverished and destitute members of British society. So how come his name is a synonym for rosy-cheeked, full-stomached, fattened-goose, hearty merry “God bless us every one” Christmas?

Avery Trufelman and Katie Mingle of 99% Invisible report from the streets of Victorian London at the annual Dickens Christmas Fair in Daly City, California, while historian Greg Jenner explains the origins of the festive traditions for which Dickens gets the credit, without even wanting the credit – in fact, his motivation for writing A Christmas Carol was far from a cash-in on Christmas.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/dickens-christmas.

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

Come to see the live Allusionist show at SF Sketchfest, 10pm 12 January at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. Tickets are on sale now at http://tinyurl.com/allusionistsfsketchfest2017.

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

Dec 09 2017
27 mins
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Rank #8: 68. Curse Soup

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Somebody has really ticked you off. You’re all steamed up inside and you want to vent that rage using words, but you don’t want to confront them directly because you’re either too polite or too cowardly. So do you:

A. Subtweet them.

B. With your finger, scrawl an insulting message into the dirt on their car.

C. Get a small sheet of lead, scratch into it a message cursing your enemies, roll it up and throw it into your nearest sacred spring?

Oh, I forgot to mention that it’s 1700-2000 years ago and you’re living in the Ancient Roman Empire, so the answer is C.

Stephen Clews, the manager of the Roman baths at Bath, shows us the curses that were sloshing around in the waters for hundreds of years.

NB One category A and one category B swear appear in this episode.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/curse-tablets.

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.

Nov 25 2017
15 mins
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Rank #9: 54. The Authority

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“Sometimes you want to make the dictionary sexy but it’s just not a sexy thing,” says Kory Stamper, lexicographer for the Merriam-Webster dictionaries. Sorry if this is disillusioning news for you. The dictionary is not a sexy thing, but as Kory explains, it is a fascinating, complicated, exacting thing.

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

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.

Apr 14 2017
13 mins
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Rank #10: 56. Joins

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As discussed in episode 51, Under the Covers part II, the vocabulary for sex and associated body parts is tricky to navigate in many ways – but even more so if you are trans or gender non-binary.

CONTENT NOTE: this episode contains strong language and frank discussions of sex and bodies.

There’s more about the episode at http://theallusionist.org/joins.

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

May 19 2017
17 mins
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Rank #11: 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
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Rank #12: 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
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Rank #13: 100. The Hundredth

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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 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.

May 27 2019
29 mins
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Rank #14: 80. Warm Front

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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 a whole country, translate conditions into something the viewer can identify with, and warn people about cyclones without making them too panicked. Or not panicked enough to take sensible cyclone precautions. Nate Byrne, who presents the weather for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s News Breakfast, breezes in to shower us with meteorological knowledge.

Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/warm-front.

See the Allusionist on stages in Australia and New Zealand in June and July 2018: live show listings are at http://theallusionist.org/events. Northern hemisphere-dwellers: check back soon, because more gigs are about to be added!

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.

This episode is sponsored by SimpliSafe. Visit http://simplisafe.com/allusionist to learn about how SimpliSafe can protect your home.

Jun 17 2018
15 mins
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Rank #15: 65. Eponyms III: Who’s That Guy?

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Roman Mars returns for our annual dose of eponyms – words that derive from people’s names. This year: explosive revelations about the origins of the word ‘guy’. Find out more about this episode at http://theallusionist.org/guy.

CONTENT NOTE: the episode contains a description of 17th century torture and execution.

The show’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. Find all our podcasts at http://radiotopia.fm.

Oct 14 2017
20 mins
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Rank #16: 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
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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
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Rank #18: 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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Rank #19: 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 #20: 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

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