Allusionist 95. Verisimilitude

When you’re watching a fantasy or science fiction show, and the characters are speaking a language that does not exist in this world but sounds like it could - that doesn’t happen by accident, or improvisation. A lot - a LOT! - of work goes into inventing new languages that sound real. Conlanger David Peterson talks about how he created languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

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Allusionist 94. Harsh Realm

On 15 November 1992, the New York Times printed a ‘ Lexicon of Grunge’, a list of slang terms from the Seattle music scene. ‘Harsh realm’ = bummer. ‘Wack slacks’ = old ripped jeans. ‘Swingin’ on the flippity-flop’ = hanging out.

Not familiar with any of these? It’s OK, it’s not because you’re a cob nobbler (= loser). They were all made up. By Megan Jasper. Now the CEO of Sub Pop records, she explains why she pranked an unsuspecting journalist.

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Allusionist 91. Bonus 2018

Throughout the year, the people who appear on the Allusionist tell me a lot of interesting stuff. Not all of which is relevant to the episode they initially appeared in, so I stash it away in preparation for this moment: the annual bonus episode! Get ready for gory 19th century London slang, the rise and fall of superhero capes, the post-WW1 trend for nudism, and more.

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Allusionist 90. Dear Santa

Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker didn’t think too much of it when, every year, a a few letters were delivered to their New York apartment addressed to Santa.

But then one year, 400 letters arrived. And they decided they had to answer them.

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Allusionist 88. Name Changers

Why did you change your name? And why did you choose the name you chose?

Listeners answer these two questions. Hear their stories of gender identity, family fallouts, marriages, divorces, doxxing, cults, and…just not liking your given name very much.

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Allusionist 87. Name v. Law

Iceland has quite exacting laws about what its citizens can be named, and only around 4,000 names are on the officially approved list. If you want a name that deviates from that list, you have to send an application to the Icelandic Naming Committee, whose three members will decide whether or not you're allowed it. And if they say you're not...you might have to take things pretty far.

Sigurður Konráðsson, foreman of the Icelandic Naming Committee, explains the committee’s objectives. And comedian, writer and former mayor of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr describes his 25-year fight to change his name.

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