The Allusionist

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman.

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 18m. Bisher sind 141 Folge(n) erschienen. Dieser Podcast erscheint jede zweite Woche.

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 1 day 22 hours 35 minutes


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128. Bonus 2020

Some choice cuts from the Allusionist vault of interesting things that guests said that there wasn’t room for in the original episodes



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.


 2020-12-14  30m

126. Survival: Custodians of the Languages

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


 2020-11-28  30m

125. Swearalong Quiz

Fill your lungs and get ready to shout out some profane answers: it’s the Swearlusionist Swearalong Quiz!


 2020-11-10  13m

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??


 2020-10-25  19m

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.


 2020-10-10  27m

122. Ghostwriter

The word for ‘ghostwriter’ in French is a racist slur. How did THAT come about? And what can French-speakers say instead?


 2020-09-28  23m

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?


 2020-09-14  58m

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.


 2020-08-28  20m

The Away Team redux

the language of migration


 2020-08-18  20m