208 episodes

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman. TheAllusionist.org

The Allusionist Helen Zaltzman

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 2.9K Ratings

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman. TheAllusionist.org

    189. Mouthful of Fortune

    189. Mouthful of Fortune

    At Lunar New Year, certain foods are particularly lucky to eat. Why? Because in Chinese, their names are puns on fortunate things. Damn, maybe noodles are all it takes to get me into puns after all... Professor Miranda Brown, cultural historian of China specialising in food and drink, explains the wordplay foods of new year, and why names are so resonant in Chinese.

    Get the transcript of this episode, and find links to Miranda Brown's work and more information about the topics therein, at theallusionist.org/fortune.

    This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is by Martin Austwick of palebirdmusic.com.

    Become a member of the Allusioverse at theallusionist.org/donate and as well as keeping this independent podcast going, you get regular livestreams, insight into the making of this show, and watchalong parties (lately, weekly gatherings to watch Great Pottery Throwdown - next weekend, the film Arrival) - AND to hang out with your fellow Allusionauts in our delightful Discord community, where I am posting all my best/worst portmanteaus and portmantNOs.

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

    Our ad partner is Multitude. If you want me to talk lovingly and winningly about your product or thing on the show in 2024, sponsor an episode: contact Multitude at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, your one-stop shop for building and running your online empire. 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.

    • 25 min
    188. Lipread

    188. Lipread

    Lipreading has been in the news this month, thanks to gossip-stoking mouth movements at the Golden Globes that the amateur lipreaders of The Internet rushed to interpret. But lipreading tutor Helen Barrow describes how reading lips really works - the confusable consonants, the importance of context and body language - and gossip maven Lainey Lui explains why these regularly occurring lipreading gossip stories are unworthy of a second or even first glance.

    Get the transcript of this episode, and find links to the guests and more information about the topics therein, at theallusionist.org/lipread.

    Content note: this episode contains three Category B swears.

    This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. The music is by Martin Austwick of palebirdmusic.com.

    Become a member of the Allusioverse at theallusionist.org/donate and as well as keeping this independent podcast going, you get regular livestreams, insight into the making of this show, and watchalong parties (lately, weekly gatherings to watch Great Pottery Throwdown) - AND to hang out with your fellow Allusionauts in our delightful Discord community, where I am posting all my best/worst portmanteaus and portmantNOs.

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

    Our ad partner is Multitude. If you want me to talk lovingly and winningly about your product or thing on the show in 2024, sponsor an episode: contact Multitude at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

    • Kitsch, fun and useful skincare, haircare and accessories and styling tools. Get 30% off your entire order at MyKitsch.com/allusionist.• 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 your online empire. 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.

    • 42 min
    187. Bonus 2023

    187. Bonus 2023

    It's our annual end of year parade of all the extra good stuff this year's podguests talked about, including a mythical disappearing island, geese, human dictionaries, the dubious history of the Body Mass Index, Victorian death department stores, and much more.

    In order of appearance, we hear from:


    Translator and author Caetano Galindo on how the countril Brazil got its name
    Lexicographer and Countdown's Dictionary Corner-er Susie Dent on pleasing words
    Academic and collector of dictionaries Lindsay Rose Russell on walking dictionaries and sleeping dictionaries
    Writer and Maintenance Phase cohost Aubrey Gordon on the origins and misuse of the BMI and body positivity movement
    Historian Dean Vuletic on why we say "Nul points!" about Eurovision losers
    Council funeral officer Evie King on alternatives to cremation
    Griefcast's Cariad Lloyd on Victorian Brits' rules for grief, and the misuse of the concept of five stages of grief.

    Plus! Renaming updates, movie-named knitwear, and my portmanteaus and portmantNOs of the year.

    Content notes: this episode contains discussions of death, grief, anti-fat bias, eugenics and racism; I've included warnings in the audio before each section where they're relevant, so you know which specific parts to skip if you need to.

    Get the transcript of this episode, and find links to the guests and more information about the topics therein, at theallusionist.org/bonus2023

    This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick of Neutrino Watch and Song By Song podcasts provides the Allusionist music. Thanks to Ashra for the inwhiches, Amanda and Carly from Multitude for the ad sales, and Tort, Lilly and Chris for their community modding. And thank you for listening to the show, and recommending it to others!

    Become a member of the Allusioverse at theallusionist.org/donate and as well as keeping this independent podcast going, you get regular livestreams, insight into the making of this show, and watchalong parties - AND to hang out with your fellow Allusionauts in our delightful Discord community, where I am posting all my best/worst portmanteaus and portmantNOs.

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

    Our ad partner is Multitude. If you want me to talk lovingly and winningly about your product or thing on the show in 2024, sponsor an episode: contact Multitude at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

    • Ravensburger, who make all sorts of jigsaw puzzles, including light-up 3D puzzles and puzzles you can use as pen holders afterwards. Buy Ravensburger puzzles in your preferred puzzle emporium and from Ravensburger's official websites. • Kitsch, fun and useful skincare, haircare and accessories and styling tools. Get 30% off your entire order at MyKitsch.com/allusionist.• 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 your online empire. 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. • Canva, great design at your fingertips to level up your videos/presentations/websites etc. And you can collaborate: get a FREE 45-day extended trial when you go to Canva.me/allusionist.

     
    Support the show: http://patreon.com/allusionist
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    186. Ravels

    186. Ravels

    We’ve got knitting! We’ve got eponyms!! We’ve got knitting eponyms!!! Which come with a whole load of battles, f-boys, duels, baseball, espionage, scandals - and socks, lots of socks.

    Fibre artist and Yarn Stories podcaster Miriam Felton discusses why grafting should ditch the name 'kitchener stitch'; we learn about the eponymous cardigan; and three towns in Ontario take pretty different approaches to having problematic namesakes.

    Content note: this episode contains mentions of war, death and injuries.

    Get the transcript of this episode, and find out more about the topics therein, at theallusionist.org/ravels.

    This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick of Neutrino Watch and Song By Song podcasts provides the Allusionist music.

    Become a member of the Allusioverse at theallusionist.org/donate and as well as keeping this independent podcast going, you get regular livestreams and watchalong parties - AND to hang out with your fellow Allusionauts in our delightful Discord community. This month, we’ll be watching Muppet Christmas Carol together, and Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah, as well as the festive Pottery Throwdown and Bake Off specials.

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

    Our ad partner is Multitude. If you want me to talk lovingly and winningly about your product or thing on the show in 2024, sponsor an episode: contact Multitude at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

    • Wildgrain, the subscription box for sourdough breads, fresh pastas, and artisanal pastries that you can cook from frozen in 25 minutes. Get $30 off your first box, PLUS free croissants in every box, when you start your subscription at Wildgrain.com/allusionist or use promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.• Ravensburger, who make all sorts of jigsaw puzzles, including ones you design yourself. Buy Ravensburger puzzles in your preferred puzzle emporium and from Ravensburger's official websites.• 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 your online empire. 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.

    • 33 min
    185. Gems and Patties

    185. Gems and Patties

    We’re returning to the theme of renaming, for two food-related renamings: the first one that mostly happened, the second that mostly did not - but in a good way.

    Dr Erin Pritchard persuaded a British supermarket to rebrand a type of sweets that had a slur in their name. And Chris Strikes recounts the renaming conflict that was the Toronto Patty Wars of 1985.

    Content note: the first part of the episode concerns an ableist slur, so there are incidences of that slur, and discussion of ableism and later anti-Black racism.

    Get the transcript of this episode, and find out more about the topics therein, at theallusionist.org/gemsandpatties.

    This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick of Neutrino Watch and Song By Song podcasts provides the Allusionist music.

    Become a member of the Allusioverse at theallusionist.org/donate and as well as keeping this independent podcast going, you get regular livestreams and watchalong parties - AND to hang out with your fellow Allusionauts in our delightful Discord community. You can also sign up for free to receive occasional email reminders about Allusionist stuff.

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

    Our ad partner is Multitude. If you want me to talk lovingly and winningly about your product or thing on the show in 2024, sponsor an episode: contact Multitude at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

    • Catan, the endlessly reconfigurable social board game. Shop at catanshop.com/allusionist and get 10% off the original base game CATAN by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout. • Ravensburger, who make the world's largest Disney jigsaw puzzle - 40,320 pieces! As well as many other sizes of puzzles. Buy Ravensburger puzzles in your preferred puzzle emporium.• 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 your online empire. 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.

    • 37 min
    184. Misophonia

    184. Misophonia

    The word 'misophonia' describes a condition that statistically, 20 per cent of you have: an extreme reaction to certain sounds. "For me, it was a relief to have a word for what I'd been experiencing," says Dr Jane Gregory, author of the new book Sounds Like Misophonia: How to Stop Small Noises from Causing Extreme Reactions, "because I thought for a long time that I was really uptight or maybe a bit controlling over other people, and that that was a problem with my character, as opposed to it actually being a problem with the way that my brain processes sounds." Jane offers advice for handling with misophonia, including some very simple verbal techniques.

    Find out more about this episode and the topics therein and read the transcript at theallusionist.org/misophonia.

    This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Martin Austwick of Neutrino Watch and Song By Song podcasts provides the Allusionist music.

    Become a member of the Allusioverse at theallusionist.org/donate and as well as keeping this independent podcast going, you get regular livestreams and watchalong parties - AND to hang out with your fellow Allusionauts in our delightful Discord community. You can also sign up for free to receive occasional email reminders about Allusionist stuff.

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

    Our ad partner is Multitude. If you want me to talk lovingly and winningly about your product or thing on the show in 2024, sponsor an episode: contact Multitude at multitude.productions/ads. This episode is sponsored by:

    • Wildgrain, the subscription box for sourdough breads, fresh pastas, and artisanal pastries that you can cook from frozen in 25 minutes. Get $30 off your first box, PLUS free croissants in every box, when you start your subscription at Wildgrain.com/allusionist or use promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.• 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 your online empire. 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.

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
2.9K Ratings

2.9K Ratings

Radio days rocked ,

For fans of history and words

Well done, researched and entertaining as well.

Gnomen. ,

This show has really lost the plot

Came to echo what others have said. It used to be a great show about words. Now its a social justice podcast.

Love Helen, agree with her overall, but I’m not really in for what the show has become. Maybe branching them into two separate podcasts would be a good idea?

Either way. The old episodes are great. I hope they get back to the words about words soon.

Asmorian ,

Love listening

I heard this plugged on ologies and am so glad I gave it a listen. Helen is a wonderful host and I am always pleased with the insightful discussion on myriad topics.

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