Sinopse

Linguistic adventures with Helen Zaltzman, TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

Episódios

  • 123. Celebrity

    123. Celebrity

    10/10/2020 Duração: 27min

    Celebrity used to mean a solemn occasion; X factor was algebraic; and fame was a huge terrifying Godzilla-like beast with many many tongues. Here to try define celebrity and fame are historian Greg Jenner of the podcast You’re Dead To Me, Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger of Who? Weekly podcast, and writer, podcaster and videomaker Hank Green. Find more information about these topics and guests at theallusionist.org/celebrity. The Allusionist music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the new kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers. I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are soothingly escapist. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • BetterHelp online licensed profe

  • 122. Ghostwriter

    122. Ghostwriter

    28/09/2020 Duração: 23min

    The word for ‘ghostwriter’ in French is a racist slur. How did THAT come about? And what word could French-speakers use instead? Ngofeen Mputubwele and Gregory Warner investigate. This piece originally aired on NPR’s Rough Translation; hear their new season at npr.org and on your pod app. Content note: the piece is about, and therefore contains, offensive terms. And towards the end of the episode, in the Minillusionist, I get into the racist violent etymology of the word ‘bulldozer’. The Allusionist music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the new kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers. I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are soothingly escapist. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. This month, the Allus

  • 121. No Title

    121. No Title

    14/09/2020 Duração: 58min

    In 2014, a seemingly trivial and boring incident at the bank propelled me down a linguistic road via medieval werewolves, Ms Marvel and confusingly inscribed gravestones, to find out why the English language is riddled with all this gender. What’s it FOR? How did it GET there? Will it go AWAY now please? It is, at the very least, taking up brainspace and not paying any rent. This is a recording of a live performance at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room in St Louis, Missouri on 23 November 2019, and there were visuals happening, so I’ll drop in sometimes to explain them, and I’ve also put a transcript and pictures at theallusionist.org/notitle. There are swears in this. There are also arguments that will be very useful to you if you ever come up against a denier of singular they. You will definitely win. The show features Martin Austwick and Richard Zaltzman. The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He als

  • Tranquillusionist: Home and Garden

    Tranquillusionist: Home and Garden

    28/08/2020 Duração: 20min

    This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, quell anxiety and calm brain frenzies by replacing your interior monologue with words detached from significance. In this case: the list of HGTV original programming, and lawnmower adverts from before I was born. Find this episode and a transcript and some pics of lawnmower ads at theallusionist.org/homeandgarden, and all the Allusionist episodes - other Tranquillusionists and also ones that are actually about something - at theallusionist.org. The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the new kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm. I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are also soothing

  • The Away Team redux

    The Away Team redux

    18/08/2020 Duração: 20min

    After yet another spell of the British press and politicians using very dehumanising and derogatory rhetoric about migrants, I felt it necessary to go back to the Away Team episode of the Allusionist, about the language of migration, with lecturer and researcher Emma Briant, and author and editor Nikesh Shukla. This episode originally went out in early 2017, but it is never not relevant. And there’s a chunk of new material in the Minillusionist, so stick around right till the end to hear that. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/migration2020. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST. • Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort an

  • 120. Shine Theory

    120. Shine Theory

    30/07/2020 Duração: 18min

    It’s great when you coin a phrase that really resonates with people, right? Until they start using it for businesses and ventures that are at odds with the meaning of it… Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, hosts of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend and authors of the new book Big Friendship, talk about what their term Shine Theory really means and what they had to do to keep it that way. Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/shinetheory. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm. And - it’s Radiotopia’s annual survey! If you’ve got a moment to tell us your feelings about podcasts in general and ours more specifically, head to survey.prx.org/ALLUSIONIST. Your responses are anonymous and none the information you tell us is given to Evilcorp, but it IS is hugely useful for figuring out how to make our shows to your liking. Thanks in advance! The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in t

  • 119. Blood Is Not Water

    119. Blood Is Not Water

    14/07/2020 Duração: 25min

    The Yiddish word for ‘black’ is, in certain uses, a slur. So Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, Arun Viswanath and Jonah Boyarin teamed up to translate Black Lives Matter without it. Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/yiddishblm. Content note: since the episode is discussing a slur, it does contain incidences of the slur. There is also one category B swear. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST. • Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durabilit

  • 118. Survival: Bequest

    118. Survival: Bequest

    03/07/2020 Duração: 28min

    When the Europeans arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as guns, stoats and Christianity, they brought ideas of cisgender monogamous heterosexuality that were imposed upon the Māori people as if there had never been anything else. But one word, takatāpui, proved otherwise. Lecturer Hemi Kelly and activist Elizabeth Kerekere excavate the linguistic evidence that pre-colonisation, Māori culture had included myriad sexual orientations, gender fluidity and polyamory. Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/bequest. Other episodes in the Survival series include Second Home, about the Welsh language seeking a haven in Argentina, Oot in the Open, about the suppression and revival of the Scots language, and The Key, about language demise and revival. Allusionist episodes covering LGBTQIA+ terms and oppression include Queer, Two Or More, Polari, and Many Ways at Once. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest i

  • 117. Many Ways At Once

    117. Many Ways At Once

    15/06/2020 Duração: 17min

    The Scots language didn’t have much of an LGBTQ+ lexicon. So writer and performer Dr Harry Josephine Giles decided to create one. Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/manywaysatonce. Previous Allusionist episodes that go alongside this episode include Oot in the Open, Queer and Two Or More. And Josie has written up a very interesting document about the LGBTQ+ lexicon in Scots which you can read at bit.ly/lgbtscots. Wishing you all an excellent and kind Pride month. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. I donated 50% of the ad revenue from this episode to the Exist Loudly Fund to Support Queer Black Young People, the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, the Trevor Project, ak

  • 116. My Dad Excavated A Porno

    116. My Dad Excavated A Porno

    03/06/2020 Duração: 30min

    The word ‘pornography’ arrived in English in the 1840s so upper class male archaeologists could talk about the sexual art they found in Pompeii without anyone who wasn’t an upper class male archaeologist knowing about it. Even though, at the same time, Victorian England was awash with what we’d now term pornography. Dr Kate Lister of Whores of Yore and pornography historian Brian Wilson of histsex.com explain the history of the word, and how the Victorian Brits dealt with material that gave them stirrings in their trousers. Sorry, ‘sit-down-upons’. ‘Inexpressibles’! If they couldn’t even express trousers, it’s little wonder they struggled to cope with pornography. Content note: though the episode is educational and thoroughly untitillating - I know, I know, what a disappointment - the nature of the topic is such that the episode may not be suitable for all audiences or circumstances. Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/pornography. The Allusioni

  • 115. Keep Calm and

    115. Keep Calm and

    16/05/2020 Duração: 20min

    Twenty years ago, a 1939 poster printed by the British government with the words ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ turned up in a second-hand bookshop in Northern England. And lo! A decor trend was born: teatowels, T-shirts, mugs, phone cases, condoms, and a zillion riffs on the phrase. Bookshop owner Stuart Manley talks about unearthing the poster that spawned countless imitations; author Owen Hatherley explains why the poster was NOT, in fact, an exemplar of Blitz Spirit and British bulldog courage and whatnot; and psychologist and therapist **Jane Gregory **considers whether being told to keep calm can keep us calm. Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/keepcalm. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionis

  • Tranquillusionist: Punchlines

    Tranquillusionist: Punchlines

    13/04/2020 Duração: 05min

    This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, in the interests of temporarily trying to stop that feeling where you think your brain is trying to claw its way out of your skull, read the punchlines to classic jokes. This episode, including a transcript, resides at theallusionist.org/punchlines; see if you can figure out all the jokes they belong to. Find all the Allusionist episodes - other Tranquillusionists and also ones that are actually about something - at theallusionist.org. The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm. I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are mercifully unconnected to current events, if you’re seeking some escape from those. The Allusionist's onlin

  • Tranquillusionist: Best In Show

    Tranquillusionist: Best In Show

    04/04/2020 Duração: 11min

    This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, for the purposes of calming a frazzled brain, read the winners of Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This episode resides at theallusionist.org/best-in-show; you can find all the Allusionist episodes, including other Tranquillusionists, at theallusionist.org. The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. Hope you are safe and well in body and mind.

  • Tranquillusionist: Nmiigea

    Tranquillusionist: Nmiigea

    22/03/2020 Duração: 03min

    This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, for the purposes of quelling anxiety and stress and sleeplessness, read the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon, with the words arranged in reverse alphabetical order. This episode resides at theallusionist.org/nmiigea; you can find all the Allusionist episodes, including other Tranquillusionists, at theallusionist.org. The original music is by Martin Austwick, based on the chords of ‘Imagine’ in alphabetical order. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. Hope you are safe and well in body and mind.

  • 115. Tranquillusionist

    115. Tranquillusionist

    17/03/2020 Duração: 10min

    We interrupt the Allusionist break to bring an emergency calming episode. I asked you listeners which words you find soothing. Here they are. Put this episode on a loop to help you sleep; play it to quell your inner monologue; use it as an unreasonably long text tone; whatever you want. View a list of the words at theallusionist.org/tranquillusionist, and find all the Allusionist episodes at theallusionist.org. Martin Austwick composed the beautiful music. Find his songs at palebirdmusic.com, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. Hope you are safe and well in body and mind.

  • 114. Alarm Bells

    114. Alarm Bells

    24/02/2020 Duração: 30min

    As the climate changes, so does the vocabulary around it - to amplify concern, to dampen concern, to serve corporate concerns… It is linguistically fraught! Journalist Amy Westervelt of the podcast Drilled, Alice Bell from the climate charity Possible, and Robin Webster from Climate Outreach explain some of the shifts in terminology, the squabbles and the industry interference - and how to communicate about climate in a way that does result in useful action. Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/alarm-bells. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm. The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by: • Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit

  • 113. Zaltzology

    113. Zaltzology

    24/01/2020 Duração: 27min

    Today’s episode is something a bit different to usual. A few months ago, I was a guest on the podcast Ologies, a terrific show where the very funny and delightful and curious Alie Ward interviews an ologist of some kind - bisonologist (ologist of bisons), ludologist (video games), corvid thanatology (crow funerals!).  Alie interviewed me as an etymologist (I’m not a qualified etymologist, mind; just an enthusiast), and we cover etymologies of words including ‘buxom’, ‘mediocre’, ‘coccyx’, ‘lacuna’, bust some etymological myths, discuss some broader attitudes towards language, and wonder why so many people hate the word ‘moist’. Here’s some of our conversation; you can hear the full-length version on Ologies. There are a couple of swears in it, including what Alie calls ‘the Swiss Army Knife of cussing’. Visit theallusionist.org/zaltzology for more about this episode, and hear the full-length version of the conversation with Alie on Ologies alieward.com/ologies/etymology. The Allusionist is a proud member

  • 112. Quiz 2019

    112. Quiz 2019

    24/12/2019 Duração: 15min

    For your last Allusionist of 2019, here is a quiz all about words for you to play along with as you listen. Get a pen and paper to jot down your answers, or there’s an interactive answer form all ready for you at theallusionist.org/2019quiz. Let me know how you score in the quiz a at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow. The show will be back in January 2020. For all Allusionist episodes, extra material, transcripts, merch etc, visit http://theallusionist.org. If you enjoyed this quiz, you can also play the 2018 quiz at theallusionist.org/2018quiz. The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Support our work by making a donation at radiotopia.fm, and along with the warm glow of satisfaction at helping us make more of the podcasts you like, you can get such rewards as challenge coins, stickers, AND an audio recording of the Allusionist 2019 live show No Title! Yours for a one-off donation of $4.35. I wanted

  • Allusionist special: Podcast Podcast

    Allusionist special: Podcast Podcast

    16/12/2019 Duração: 12min

    To celebrate Radiotopia’s fundraiser, here’s a special episode about the word that brought us all together… aaand a lot of you hate it. This piece was recorded in front of a live audience at PodCon in Seattle. If you love podcasts, or more specifically this podcast, or slightly less specifically but still quite specifically the podcasts in the Radiotopia collective, get involved by making a donation at Radiotopia.fm! You can get swag that’s exclusive to this fundraiser, or just purchase the glow of satisfaction at funding the audiotainment we make. Get your regular dose of the Allusionist at theallusionist.org.

  • 111. Engraving part 2: Precious

    111. Engraving part 2: Precious

    16/12/2019 Duração: 35min

    Words engraved into metal are intended to last, though you don’t know who in the future is going to be reading them - your grandchildren wearing your wedding ring, the stranger who found your long-lost multitool, yourself at a time of need. Steven Yardley of Milne & Yardley talks about the disappearing craft of hand engraving. Max Ullmann of the antique jewellery shop A.R. Ullmann Ltd shows the objects engraved in centuries past. Wearing their grandmothers’ rings, Lisa Hack connects to family she doesn’t know, and Freddy McConnell *to the family he does. When *Eeva Sarlin’s ex-boyfriend lost her Leatherman multitool, she thought she’d never see it again - and were it not for an engraving, she wouldn’t have. And Arlie Adlington, who reports this episode, had words engraved into his ring to remind him of his reality when others threaten to ruin it. Go to theallusionist.org/precious to read more about this episode and find a transcript. Hear the first part of the pair of episodes about engraving at theall

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