The Allusionist

The Allusionist

The Allusionist

CATEGORY: Arts
Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman. TheAllusionist.org
  1. June 25, 2022
    27 min
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    157. Queerbaiting
    The term 'queerbaiting' has evolved from meaning entrapment to marketing ploy to drawing "queer audiences into a piece of media that has no intention of actually meaningfully exploring queerness" says Leigh Pfe…
  2. June 11, 2022
    25 min
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    156. Rainbow Washing
    From whitewash (the paint) we got whitewashing (the covering up of misdeeds) and from there greenwashing, redwashing, bluewashing, purplewashing, pinkwashing - and now rainbow washing, where companies will put…
  3. May 27, 2022
    20 min
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    155. The Tiffany Problem
    The name Tiffany has been around for some 800 years. But you can't name a character in a historical novel 'Tiffany', because people don't believe the name is old. Science fiction and fantasy author Jo Walton co…
  4. May 14, 2022
    30 min
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    154. Objectivity
    Couple of easy straightforward questions for us to chew on: 1. What is ‘objectivity’ supposed to mean? And 2. does it exist? Lewis Raven Wallace, a journalist and audiomaker fired from his public radio job over…
  5. April 17, 2022
    37 min
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    153. In Character
    Chinese is one of the oldest still-spoken languages in the world. But when technologies arrived like telegraphy and computing, designed with the Roman alphabet in mind, if Chinese wanted to be able to participa…
  6. April 03, 2022
    38 min
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    152. Asperger
    Hans Asperger would have been merely "a footnote in the history of autism", so why did he get to be the eponym in Asperger's syndrome? Because along with the usual problems medical eponyms pose, and his work no…
  7. April 03, 2022
    37 min
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    152. Asperger - music-free version
    Hans Asperger would have been merely "a footnote in the history of autism", so why did he get to be the eponym in Asperger's syndrome? Because along with the usual problems medical eponyms pose, and his work no…
  8. March 18, 2022
    30 min
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    151. The Bee's Knees
    Bad hats, cat's pyjamas, banting, goops, creatures, and playing possum - what WERE people going on about during the Golden Age of detective fiction? Caroline Crampton of Shedunnit podcast and I get sleuthing in…
  9. March 05, 2022
    31 min
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    150. The Egg's Warning
    "Warning: read and keep," says the piece of paper inside Kinder Surprise Eggs, in 34 languages; yet most people do neither thing. But sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris did read and keep it, and study what the egg i…
  10. February 19, 2022
    27 min
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    149. Complex PTSD
    Complex PTSD is different to PTSD, but there's not that much understanding of it as its own condition - which was not much help to Stephanie Foo when she was diagnosed with it in 2018. We talk about facing trau…
  11. December 23, 2021
    25 min
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    148. Bonus 2021
    I've been saving them up all year, and now it's time for the annual selection box of Bonus Bits! Things this year's guests said that couldn't fit into their episode, or weren't related to language, but ARE rela…
  12. December 07, 2021
    27 min
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    147. Survival: Today, Tomorrow part 2
    "It's really good if we can get the changes through here - that can be an inspiration for other other countries or other places in the world," says Þorbjörg Þorvaldsdóttir, chair of Samtökin ’78, the national q…
  13. November 24, 2021
    33 min
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    146. Survival: Today, Tomorrow part 1
    The Icelandic language has remained so stable over the centuries, speakers can read manuscripts from 900 years ago without too much trouble. And when they need a new word for more recent concepts, there are com…
  14. November 07, 2021
    44 min
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    145. Parents
    When you're trans and pregnant, some of the vocabulary of pregnancy, birth and parenting might not fit you. In fact, some of it might not even work for people of ANY gender. Trans parents Freddy McConnell and C…
  15. October 26, 2021
    27 min
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    144. Aro Ace
    The word 'asexual' has been used by humans describing themselves for several decades; 'aromantic' is newer. Both words enable people to voice identities that were unacknowledged for centuries, to find each othe…
  16. October 13, 2021
    26 min
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    143. Hedge Rider
    Today it's the etymologies you requested! And a few you didn't! We've got witches, wizards, warlocks; conjurers and cloves; wood shavings, nice gone nasty, and a whole lot more. Plus, a bold method of scaring a…
  17. September 25, 2021
    24 min
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    142. Zero
    Did any number cause as much trouble as zero? It stranded ships; it scrambles the brains of mathematicians, calendar users and computers; it even got itself banned in Florence. Math(s) communicator and drag que…
  18. September 10, 2021
    28 min
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    141. Food Quiz
    Quiz time! Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway of Home Cooking podcast join to deliver questions about food etymology, as well as what are the two words that make a dance track, and whether 'za' is an acceptable…
  19. August 30, 2021
    33 min
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    140. Num8er5
    We use verbal numbers and we use numerals - why do we need both? Why do we have the ones we have? What happened to Roman numerals? And what's loserish about the fiftieth Super Bowl? Stephen Chrisomalis, profess…
  20. August 14, 2021
    34 min
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    Tranquillusionist: 282 Salads
    This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, read all the salads from the 1950 recipe book 282 Ways of Making a Salad, with Favourite Recipes by British and American Personalities and Stars by Be…

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