189. Mouthful of Fortune
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
1w ago
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 Austwi ..read more
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188. Lipread
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
3w ago
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/liprea ..read more
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187. Bonus 2023
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
2M ago
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 co ..read more
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186. Ravels
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
2M ago
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 theallusi ..read more
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185. Gems and Patties
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
3M ago
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. Find out more about this episode and the topics therein and read the transcr ..read more
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184. Misophonia
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
3M ago
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 han ..read more
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Apple Fest!
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
4M ago
All aboard, we're off to the 2023 Apple Festival at the University of British Columbia, to taste some apples and, most importantly, enjoy some apple names. And before that, we return to the classic Sporklusionist applesode to refresh our memory about how apple names are chosen - eponyms, portmanteaus, geography, or corporate R&D, just like how our ancestors named apples. Dan Pashman hosts The Sporkful podcast - head to the Sporkful podfeed or sporkful.com to listen to the companion episode where we learn about how new varietals of apples are made. Kate Evans, Kathryn Grandy and Joanna Cros ..read more
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183. Timucua
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
4M ago
When Spanish missionaries arrived in what is now called Florida, there were 100,000-200,000 Timucua people in the region. Just two centuries later, there were fewer than 100. Soon, with all the people who spoke it dead, the Timucua language died out, too, preserved only in a few Spanish-Timucua religious texts. In the 21st century, linguistic anthropologist Aaron Broadwell and historian Alejandra Dubcovsky have been decoding and translating these texts to understand the Timucua language and the people who were writing it down. Find out more about this episode and the topics therein, and obtain ..read more
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182. Siblings of Chaos
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
5M ago
Lexicographer, author and Dictionary Corner resident Susie Dent has been studying words to make us feel happy. She brings etymologies concerning cows, gas, guts and fat, of bellies and breathing and bonanzas. And some that came from the high seas and aren't made up! Find out more about this episode and the topics therein, and obtain the transcript, at theallusionist.org/siblings-of-chaos. 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 Al ..read more
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181. Cairns
The Allusionist
by Helen Zaltzman
5M ago
There's an abiding myth that the landmark dictionaries are the work of one man, in a dusty paper-filled garrett tirelessly working away singlehandedly. But really it took a village: behind every Big Daddy of Lexicography was usually a team of women, keeping the garrett clean, organising the piles of papers, reading through all the citations, doing research, writing definitions, editing, subediting...essentially being lexicographers, without the credit or the pay. Academic Lindsay Rose Russell, author of Women and Dictionary-Making, talks about the roles of women in lexicography: enabling male ..read more
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