The Allusionist is is Helen Zaltman’s podcast about language, how its used, abused, bent broken and spoken, where language came from and how it’s changing.
Since the first episode ‘Ban the pun’ back in January 2015, Helen has been delivering nuggets of knowledge about language. Now we are up to episode 90 ‘Dear Santa’ where we lear about what happened when 400 letters to Santa were delivered to a flat in New York. The Allusionist has covered topics such as: lies hidden in dictionaries, emojis, the messiness of English, eponyms, Toki Pona the smallest language in the world, swearing, why the meaning of please changes across the Atlantic, the unofficial dictionary of San Quentin state prison, the etymologies of many words and the occasional place name, brand names and trademarks. The Allusionist is packed with information but delivered gently in a digestible manner.
Each episode also features a random dictionary definition word of the day. The most recent was ‘wayzgoose’ – a printer’s annual dinner or picnic. That word seems alarmingly familiar, but how would I have ever known that?