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The Allusionist

The Allusionist

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman. TheAllusionist.org

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Tranquillusionist: Australia's Big Things

This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, say a load of deliberately boring words to distract your interior monologue from whatever dystopian stew it is in. Today: a list of the Big Things of Australia.

The Allusionist is on tour in Australia with the new live show Your Name Here, all about eponyms. Before you get too tranquil, visit theallusionist.org/events for dates and tickets to the remaining shows in Australia and the upcoming ones in Aotearoa New Zealand. Hurry!! OK, back to tranqullity.

Find a transcript and some photos of the Big Things I've encountered at theallusionist.org/big-things. All the Allusionist episodes - other Tranquillusionists and also ones that are actually about something - are at theallusionist.org.

The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin?s songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird Spotify and Bandcamp, and he?s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-07-19
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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 Pfeffer, host and producer of the podcast History Is Gay. Leigh tracks where the word's various incarnations came from, and why it should not be confused with 'queer coding'.

This episode contains some swears.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/queerbaiting, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

And come to see the new live show Your Name Here in Australia and New Zealand! Ticket links are at theallusionist.org/events, and everyone gets a special Allusionist pencil. Each! You don't even have to share the same pencil!

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting an independent podcast, you get patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, crafts, pet pics and word games.

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 produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin?s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

? Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
? BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
? Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-06-25
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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 Pride flags all over products and posts during the month of June, but behind the scenes will not necessarily be useful - and sometimes they'll be anti-useful. Mitra Kaboli, host of the new podcast Welcome to Provincetown, helps sort the real allyship from the rainbow-washing; and writer Sarah Schulman, who popularised the term 'pinkwashing', explains the more political meaning of that word.

This episode contains some swears.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/rainbow-washing, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting an independent podcast, you get patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. And come to see the new live show Your Name Here in Australia and New Zealand! Ticket links are at theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is composed and sung by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• Catan, the building and trading board game where no two games are the same. Allusionist listeners get 10 percent off the original base game at catanshop.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-06-11
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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 coined the term "The Tiffany Problem" to express the disparity between historical facts and the common perception of the past.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/tiffany, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting an independent podcast, you get patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie.

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 produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is composed and sung by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-05-28
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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 his blog post entitled ‘Objectivity is dead and I'm okay with it’, considers the principals and practice of objectivity, and what might be fairer ones.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/objectivity, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie.

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 produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• Tab For a Cause: turn your browsing into charity fundraising at tabforacause.org/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-05-14
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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 participate then it had to choose between adapting, or paying a heavy price. And sometimes both were inevitable. Jing Tsu, author of Kingdom of Characters: the Language Revolution that Made China Modern, recounts how Chinese contended with obstacles like alphabetisation, Romanisation and standardisation.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/character, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie.

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 produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show this year, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-04-18
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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 not really earning him the honour, he collaborated with Nazis and sent children to a hospital where they would be experimented on and even killed.

Activist, writer and academic Morénike Giwa Onaiwu discusses the stigma around terms like Asperger’s syndrome and autism, and historian Edith Sheffer talks about Hans Asperger and child psychiatry in Nazi Vienna.

Content notes: Nazis, eugenics, ableism, child abuse, murder. 

There are two versions of this episode. The content is the same, but this version contains background music; if you would prefer one with no music, you can get it right next to where you obtained this one.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/asperger, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show this year, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Shmanners, a delightful podcast about history, culture, etiquette and idioms, hosted by Travis and Teresa McElroy. Listen on your podcatchers and at schmanners.com.
• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-04-03
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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 not really earning him the honour, he collaborated with Nazis and sent children to a hospital where they would be experimented on and even killed.

Activist, writer and academic Morénike Giwa Onaiwu discusses the stigma around terms like Asperger’s syndrome and autism, and historian Edith Sheffer talks about Hans Asperger and child psychiatry in Nazi Vienna.

Content notes: Nazis, eugenics, ableism, child abuse, murder. 

There are two versions of this episode. The content is the same, but this version contains no background music, just speech; if you would prefer one with music, you can get it right next to where you obtained this one.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/asperger, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show this year, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Shmanners, a delightful podcast about history, culture, etiquette and idioms, hosted by Travis and Teresa McElroy. Listen on your podcatchers and at schmanners.com.
• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-04-03
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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 into the slang of the mystery novels of the 1920s and 1930s.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/beesknees, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word. Versions of this episode were originally released by Caroline Crampton's Shedunnit podcast and the Shedunnit Book Club. Find both at shedunnitshow.com.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show this year, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-03-19
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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 is trying to tell us: about Kinder Egg toy safety, yes, but also about multilingualism, about an object that says 'yes!' but the warning says 'no!', about the signs of human idiosyncracy that show themselves even in a mandatory corporate message.

Find out more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/kinderegg, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

The music is by Martin Austwick, made with Kinder Eggs. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show this year, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever, and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-03-05
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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 trauma rather than burying it, self-care and self-soothing, endurance being an underrated word, and why people can quit sniping about triggers. Stephanie’s new book is What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma

Content note: Stephanie refers fleetingly to the parental violence and abandonment she experienced, and we also mention sexual violence; but, we don’t discuss any of these things in detail. It’s a more general conversation about psychology and trauma, rather than stories of traumatisation. There are also a couple of swears.

Find out more information about the topics in this episde at theallusionist.org/cptsd, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and not only are you supporting independent podcast, you get fortnightly patron-exclusive video livestreams and a Discord community full of language chat, craft pics and word game camaraderie!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs via palebirdmusic.com.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show this year, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, whose mission is to make the comfiest clothes ever. and match every item sold with an equal item donated. Go to bombas.com/allusionist to get 20% off your first purchase.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2022-02-19
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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 related to being a bonus bit. We've got percussive pan protests; the mating habits, and male-killing habits, of ladybirds; Icelandic aunts/uncles/cousins/wait which member of the extended family are you referring to?; Morse code machines; and a surprisingly heated topic, the semantics of salad.

Links to all the original episodes featuring these guests are at theallusionist.org/bonus2021, plus a transcript and the full dictionary entry for the randomly selected word.

The show will return in February 2022, but sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist for patron-exclusive livestreams in January!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

Visit theallusionist.org/merch to obtain your Potato Fugue State sweatshirts and multidenominational Wintervalwear.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Catan, the building and trading board game where no two games are the same. Allusionist listeners get 10 percent off the original base game at catanshop.com/allusionist.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-12-23
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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 queer organization of Iceland. In 2019, Iceland passed the Gender Autonomy Act, which added an option for people to register their official gender as X; with it, the country's strictly binary-gendered naming laws were suddenly transformed. Other changes, like a new genderfree pronoun, are catching on; but overhauling a whole grammatically gendered language is no easy undertaking.

Find out more about the topics covered in this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/todaytomorrow2; and browse down your podfeed to listen to Today, Tomorrow part 1 about how Icelandic officially obtains new words, and navigates the challenges of being an old language in the present day; and the episode Name V Law, about the Icelandic Naming Committee and the strict laws before the updates discusssed in this episode.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses, bonus etymologies, a trip around Iceland's museums via me, AND a delightful community of Teamlusionists!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow

Visit theallusionist.org/merch to obtain your Potato Fugue State sweatshirts and multidenominational Wintervalwear.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• FT Weekend podcast, which explores the best of today's culture, art, food and travel. New episodes land on Saturdays, and you can listen for free in the places you get your podcasts.
• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.)

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-12-07
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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 committees to coin one, so that the modern Icelandic lexicon includes such things as the internet, helicopters and mansplaining. Defending the language from the encroachment of English, however, is rather more challenging.

Find out more about the topics covered in this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/todaytomorrow1.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses, bonus etymologies, a trip around Iceland's museums via me, AND a delightful community of Teamlusionists!

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Catan, the building and trading board game where no two games are the same. Allusionist listeners get 10 percent off the original base game at catanshop.com/allusionist.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free 2-week trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-11-24
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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 CJ talk about gender-additive language, inclusive for women and other genders, and about how in English law, the word 'mother' becomes semantically very complicated indeed.

Find out more about the topics covered in this episode at theallusionist.org/parents.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses and bonus etymologies, AND a delightful community of Teamlusionists!

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.) 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-11-08
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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 other and build communities together, and to provide counternarratives to what the allosexuals are pushing.

Lewis Brown, a writer and poet, speaks on behalf of AUREA, the Aromantic spectrum Union for Recognition, Education and Advocacy, about the history and use of 'asexual' and 'aromantic'. Happy Ace Week! aceweek.org.

Find out more about the topics covered in this episode at theallusionist.org/aroace.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses and bonus etymologies, AND a delightful community of Teamlusionists!

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a sleek website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.
• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-10-27
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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 away a ghost, if you must.

Find out more about the topics covered in this episode at theallusionist.org/hedgerider.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses and bonus etymologies.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.) 
• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Catan, the building and trading board game where no two games are the same. Allusionist listeners get 10 percent off the original base game at catanshop.com/allusionist.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-10-13
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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 queen Kyne explains the Terminator of numbers.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/zero. And submit requests for words you'd like me to investigate in the next episode at theallusionist.org/requests.

Until 4 October 2021, you can stream the London Podfest performance of the new Allusionist stage show, full of eponyms, music and planets. Link is at theallusionist.org/events.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses, and discounted tickets for the Allusionist stage show.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.)
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-09-25
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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 abbreviation for 'pizza'.

Play along and keep track of your score using the interactive scoresheet at theallusionist.org/foodquiz.

For the rest of September 2021, you can stream the London Podfest performance of the new Allusionist live show, full of eponyms, music and planets. Link is at theallusionist.org/events.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get behind the scenes glimpses, and discounted tickets for the Allusionist live show.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. Let me know what you scored in the quiz!

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a good-looking, good-acting website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code ALLUSIONIST. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-09-11
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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, professor of anthropology and linguistics and author of the book Reckonings: Numerals, Cognition and History, returns to the Allusionist to explain our current numbers, and why we shouldn't get too arrogant about them.

There's more about this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/numbers.

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get discounted tickets to the upcoming Allusionist live show on 4 September 2021.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.) 
• Catan, the building and trading board game where no two games are the same. Allusionist listeners get 10 percent off the original base game at catanshop.com/allusionist.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-08-30
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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 Bebe Daniels and Jill Algood, with the purpose of giving your internal monologue a break by replacing it with some absolutely inconsequential words. Note: this is NOT the usual Allusionist. You will not learn anything about language at all, in fact the ideal outcome of the Tranquillusionists is that you’re asleep before the end. 

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. And listen to his podcasts Neutrino Watch and Song By Song.

Come to see me and Martin perform an all new Allusionist live show at the London Podcast Festival on 4 September 2021! Tickets to attend in-room or online are available via theallusionist.org/events, where you'll also find information about the Raise Three Fingers fundraiser for Myanmar that I'm cohosting with MiMi Aye in London on 22 August.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist - you get discounted tickets to the new live show!

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Skillshare, the online learning community offering thousands of inspiring classes for creative and curious people. Explore your creativity at Skillshare.com/allusionist and get a one month free trial of premium membership. 
• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a good-looking, good-acting website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-08-14
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139 Ladybird Ladybug

They're not ladies and they're not birds; they're not even technically bugs! But that's not the most surprising thing about ladybirds/ladybugs and their brilliant variety of names. Tamsin Majerus AKA Dr Ladybird explains why ladybirds are so great; and Johanna Mayer and Elah Feder of the podcast Science Diction, about words and the science stories behind them, consider what's in a (ladybird) name.

This episode is one half of a collaboration with Science Diction, so go to their feed to listen to their episode It’ll Never Fly, where they set me a quiz about the outlandish and intriguing names given to fruitfly genes.

There's more about this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/ladybird.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist and as well as supporting the show, you get discounted tickets to the upcoming Allusionist live show on 4 September 2021, plus the story of my all too brief spell of having a loveliness of pet ladybirds.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.) 
• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running a good-looking, good-acting website. Go to squarespace.com/allusionist for a free trial, and get 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain with the code allusionist. 

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-07-12
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138. Mind My Mind

Crazy, insane, nuts, mad, bonkers, psycho, schizo, OCD - casual vocabulary is strewn with mental health terms, but perhaps shouldn't be? Psychotherapist and podcaster Lily Sloane talks about what we're really saying when we use such words.

Content note: in the second half of the show there is some mention of eating disorders. So if that’s not what you need to hear about today, tap out at the ad break.

There's more about this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/mind-my-mind.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

Sign up to be a patron at patreon.com/allusionist by the end of June 2021, and I'll record the word or phrase of your choice to use as your phone alert or alarm!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Our ad partner is Multitude. To sponsor an episode of the show, contact them at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

• Acorn TV, the streaming service featuring hundreds of dramas, mysteries and comedies from around the world. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to Acorn.TV and using my promo code allusionist. (Be sure to type that code in lower case.) 
• Bombas, makers of the most comfortable socks in the history of feet - and super-smooth undies and T-shirts too. Shop their Pride collection and give a piece of clothing for each one you buy, PLUS get 20 percent off your first purchase at bombas.com/allusionist.
• BetterHelp, online therapy with licensed professional counsellors. Allusionist listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/allusionist

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-06-27
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137. Dude

Exclamation; sign of agreement OR disapproval; gendered, but circumstantially gender-neutral; term of endearment: 'dude' can do it all! But its connotations of a laid-back, cool, masculine person are only a few decades old; before that, it meant...an uptight city-dwelling tourist?? Dude, seriously!

There's more about this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/dude. Callie Wright's podcast is Queersplaining, which you can find in the kinds of places you obtain this podcast, and at queersplaining.com

Want to be barked awake/gently introduced to the day by me saying the word of your choice? Become a patreon at patreon.com/allusionist by the end of this month of June 2021, and I will record the word or short phrase of your choice to use as your phone alert or alarm! All patrons get to choose a word, and all patrons get the recordings of all the patrons’ choices. This is going to be fun. Oh and you’re helping fund the show too, of course.

The Allusionist theme is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. His new podcast is Neutrino Watch, and it's different every time you download it.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-06-11
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136. Misogynoir

“It's hard to address something if you can't actually name what it is,” says Moya Bailey, who coined a term that enables people to discuss a specific combination of racism and sexism: misogynoir.

Find Moya Bailey's work at moyabailey.com. Her new book is Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women's Digital Resistance. 

There's more about this episode, and a transcript, at theallusionist.org/misogynoir.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-05-29
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135. SOS

SOS is a really versatile distress call. You can shout it; you can tap it out in Morse code; you can honk it on a horn; you can signal it with flashes of light; you can spell it out on the beach with debris from your wrecked ship.

Explaining where SOS came from and what it means are maritime archivist Christian Ostersehlte from the German Maritime Museum, and Paul Tyreman from PK Porthcurno, the Museum of Global Telecommunications.

Find more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/sos

There are a couple of category B swears in this episode.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-05-14
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Allusionist: Eclipse+

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 about forty words. 

This is a rerun of an all time fave Allusionist, but with a few extra little bits added. Content note: this episode is about a medical crisis (everyone survives, though!), and has some Category A swears in it.

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

The special music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-04-23
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134. Lacuna

If you were in Brazil during the military dictatorship of 1964-1985, tried to bake a cake from a recipe in the newspaper, and were served with a sorry mess that tasted disgustingly salty, it wasn't your fault. What you thought was a recipe was actually a message from the newspaper that they were being censored. 

Designer and researcher Crystian Cruz opens up the TOP SECRET files, to share the fake weather reports, single nipples vs a pair, soap opera characters getting bumped off, and the problems with kung fu. 

Find more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/lacuna

There is one swear towards the end of this episode.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-04-10
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133. Cake is Mighter than the Sword

What to do to stick it to the powers that be? Send your message through something they really care about: cake.

In Buenos Aires, local tour guides Madi Lang and Juan Palacios introduce me to priest's balls and little cannons, the pastries laced with the sweet taste of 1880s trade union protests.

There are a few swears and saucy references in this episode.

Find more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/cake-sword

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-03-27
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132. Additions and Losses

"Sometimes I've heard people talk about losing a child and people say it's like losing a limb. And as someone who's lost both things, I just want to say, the realities are very different." Musician and writer Christa Couture has experienced way too much of people trying to convey sympathy and instead expressing their discomfort about disability and death. 

Content note: we talk about ableism, cancer and bereavement. Part of the conversation is about the deaths of two of Christa's babies, so stop listening at the 20-minute mark if you need not to hear about that subject right now.

Find more about this episode at theallusionist.org/additions-losses. Christa Couture's website is christacouture.com. Her excellent new memoir How To Lose Everything is out now, and her music is available on Bandcamp, Spotify etc.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-03-12
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131. Podlingual

In their podcasts Mija and Moonface, Lory Martinez and James Kim create autobiographical fiction in multiple languages. 

There are a few swears in this episode.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/podlingual and hear the whole conversation, and the others in the series, on Scripps College's podcast feed. 

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-02-26
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130. Valentine

St Valentine's name may nowadays be all over the romance-related merch for 14 February, but he was also the patron saint of beekeepers, epilepsy and plagues. Let's get to know this multi-hyphenate saint a bit better.

Find out more about topics covered in this episode at theallusionist.org/valentine. All the information in this episode is real, even though it sounds like it's not.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-02-14
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129. Sorry

Apologies are such important verbal transactions. So why are so many of them soooo bad? Susan McCarthy and Marjorie Ingall from SorryWatch and Laura Beaudin of fauxpolo.gy pinpoint what to look out for, to sort the apologies from the fauxpologies.

There’s more about this episode at theallusionist.org/sorry.

The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionists how and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2021-01-31
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128. Bonus 2020

To round off the year, here are some choice cuts from the Allusionist vault of interesting things that guests said that there wasn’t room for in the original episodes. Brace yourself for a vivid name for dust bunnies, the scary side of glamour, another reason to be grateful for bears, and Schrödinger’s Fart.

There’s more about this episode at theallusionist.org/bonus2020. The show will be back with new episodes in late January 2021.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist.

Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-12-24
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127. A Festive Hit for 2020

The usual canon of Christmas songs may not really fit people's moods in this year 2020, when I'm not sure a lot of us are feeling all that holly jolly. So I drafted in singer and songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs and we wrote a festive song that is suitable for 2020.

Content note: there are swears. Several of them.

Jenny Owen Youngs makes music - find it at jennyowenyoungs.com - and podcasts - Buffering the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars Investigations. She’s @jennyowenyoungs on Twitter and Instagram.

Martin Austwick provided music, backing vocals and linguistic analysis. Hear Martin’s own songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers.

There’s more about this episode at theallusionist.org/mistletoe.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Support the show by becoming a patron at patreon.com/allusionist. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Also, check out the previous festive Allusionist episodes, absolute bangers, one and all! We’ve got Winterval, a jolly romp through a portmanteau that sparked another war on the war on Christmas; How The Dickens Stole Christmas, about how Charles Dickens became a festive trend-setter; Dear Santa, about how a load of letters to Santa got delivered to a couple in Manhattan, who set out to answer them; and Xmas Man, about the many names for Santa/Father Christmas/St Nick, and deathy and meaty Victorian Christmas cards.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-12-14
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126. Survival: Custodians of the Languages

In Australia, there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of languages. Until English arrived.

Rudi Bremer and Karina Lester talk about the destruction and revival of indigenous Australian languages.

Content note: this episode refers to violence and genocide.

Find more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/custodians, and listen to the other episodes in the Survival series: Second Home about Welsh in Patagonia; Oot in the Open, about the suppression and revival of Scots; and Bequest, about queer language in M?ori; and the pair of Key episodes are about language extinction and preservation.

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.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-11-28
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125. Swearalong Quiz

Fill your lungs and get ready to shout out some profane answers: it’s the Swearlusionist Swearalong Quiz! Every answer is a swear word. Swearing, as we know, is good for your health, plus helps vent stress, and you’ll learn many etymological facts along the way, so this is a very wholesome and educational quiz.

CONTENT NOTE: this episode contains swears. Surprise!

Find more information about the topics in this episode at theallusionist.org/swearalong.

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.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-11-10
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124. Nightmare

This is the Alloooooooooosionist, in which we learn about the etymology of some scary words for Halloween, with the help of Paul Bae of The Black Tapes and The Big Loop podcasts, and Chelsey Weber-Smith of the podcast American Hysteria. Beware of demons! Satan! The bogeyman! Lemurs!

Wait - lemurs??

Find more information about these topics and guests at theallusionist.org/nightmare.

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.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-10-25
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123. Celebrity

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.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-10-10
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122. Ghostwriter

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’.

Find more information about these topics and guests at theallusionist.org/ghostwriter.

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.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-09-28
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121. No Title

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 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.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-09-14
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Tranquillusionist: Home and Garden

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.

I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are also soothingly escapist.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-08-28
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The Away Team redux

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.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-08-18
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120. Shine Theory

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's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-07-30
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119. Blood Is Not Water

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's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-07-15
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118. Survival: Bequest

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 M?ori people as if there had never been anything else. But one word, takat?pui, proved otherwise.

Lecturer Hemi Kelly and activist Elizabeth Kerekere excavate the linguistic evidence that pre-colonisation, M?ori 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's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-07-04
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117. Many Ways At Once

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'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, akt and Mermaids UK.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-06-15
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116. My Dad Excavated A Porno

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 Watson 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 Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

I will be donating all ad revenue from this episode to organisations fighting systemic inequality and police brutality towards Black people.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-06-03
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115. Keep Calm and

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's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-05-17
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Tranquillusionist: Punchlines

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.

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 online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

2020-04-13
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