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.Read More
‘Idle’, ‘trivial’, ‘scurrilous’: the word ‘gossip’ is often accompanied by uncomplimentary adjectives. But don’t dismiss it; from childbirth to Hollywood to political analysis to whisper networks, gossip may be more useful and serious than you realise.Read More
This is a story of feats of speed and endurance, of record-breakers, of champions… Typing champions.Read More
Today will be fine.
But wait: fine as in 'OK', fine as in 'really rather good', or fine as in 'no precipitation'? When you're a TV weather forecaster, you have to deal with the mismatch of your specialist vocabulary with that of the meteorological laypeople watching - as well as cover all the weather across a whole country, translate conditions into something the viewer can identify with, and warn people about cyclones without making them too panicked. (Or not panicked enough - do take sensible cyclone precautions, people!)
Nate Byrne, who presents the weather for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's News Breakfast, breezes in to shower us with meteorological knowledge.Read More
Up in the sky: look! It's an adjective! It's a noun! It's...Adjectivenoun!
Your friendly neighbourhood superheroes might have thrilling and varied powers and spandex garments, but the way their names are concocted have followed only a handful of formulae in the past 80 years, since Superman sent superheroes soaring.
(Yes, alliteration is one such naming formula.)
Glen Weldon of Pop Culture Happy Hour traces the supername's development from Adjective+Gender through Colour+Noun to Normal Name and Lone Noun.Read More
'Classics' started off meaning Latin and Greek works, then literary works that smacked of similar, and now - what, exactly? Books that are full of bonnets and dust?Read More
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“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture” is a problematic statement: not just because nobody can agree on who came up with it, but because dancing about architecture doesn’t seem particularly far-fetched. Talking about dance, however - that's really difficult. How do you put a wordless form of communication into words?
Audio describer Alice Sanders and choreographer Steven Hoggett take the issue for a twirl.
READING ABOUT DANCE IS LIKE READING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE:
- If you want to find out more about "[doing a thing] about [a thing] is like [doing a different thing] about [another thing]" adages, take a look here and here.
- Further werewolf reading-matter: find out about Old English wolf-words; read this plea for feminist werewolves/wifwolves; and this, apparently, is The Problem with Female Werewolves (too hairy for this bikini-waxed world?).
- You want to learn Labanotation? Don't let me stop you.
- You want to learn about the Step Up series of films? Don't let me stop you.
- Steven Hoggett talks more about how he goes about his work, here and here.
- Here is the transcript of this episode, and I'm going back and adding transcripts of previous episodes at theallusionist.org/transcripts. Tell people you know who might not be able to hear the podcast, but perhaps would like to read it.
HELP YOURSELF, HELP THE SHOW:
Today's sponsors are:
Hover.com, the non-horrific domain name registration option, where you can get 10% off your first purchase by using the code ALLUSIONIST at checkout;
Squarespace.com, the one-stop shop for creating a snazzy website. Go on, have 10% off your first purchase with the code ALLUSION.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Alice Sanders writes very funny articles and blogs. Find her at twitter.com/wernerspenguin.
- Steven Hoggett is working on exciting forthcoming projects including the stage adaptation of Disney's Pinocchio, AND the Harry Potter play. You'll have to wait a little while for those; but his Burt Bacharach show, Close To You, is about to open at London's Criterion Theatre. The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time is on in the UK and on Broadway, and Once seems to be all over the place.
- The non-speech noises in this episode were:
- Allusionist Theme by Martin Austwick
- The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky
- A snippet of the film version of A Chorus Line
- Cinderella by Prokofiev
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Thanks to Eleanor McDowall and Miranda Sawyer.
- Dance along to facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.
WARNING: this episode is full of FOUL PROFANE LANGUAGE. I suggest you don't listen to it through loudspeakers at a christening.
Today I'm trying to figure out why 'cunt' is considered to be a ruder swear word than others like 'twat' which mean the same thing, or male equivalents like 'dick' and 'knob'. A few hundred years ago, cunt was sufficiently not-rude that there were streets named Gropecunt Lane in most of Britain's major market towns; yet now, it is top tier of the hierarchy of offensiveness. But maybe in another few hundred years, it will have been supplanted by 'swear word' or 'Jeff'. Find out why: listen now via iTunes, SoundCloud, miscellaneous podcast directories, or RSS.
- If you enjoyed hearing about Gropecunt Lane, then I'm sure you'll like the triumphant tale of Tickle Cock Bridge.
- There's a very interesting discussion of 'bloody' and other religious swear words on episode 44 of the brilliant podcast No Such Thing As A Fish.
- Study TS Eliot's poem 'The Triumph of Bullshit'.
- See Eve Ensler perform The Vagina Monologues.
- Worried about whether to spell bellend 'bellend', 'bell-end' or 'bell end'? The editor of the Sunday Sport has the definitive answer.
MAILCHIMP RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD OF THE DAY:
This episode was sponsored by Squarespace.com. Use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off their website-hosting and -building services for a year. Perhaps you could run a store selling Bullshit Centenary memorabilia.
Presented and produced by Helen Zaltzman.
Leon Wilson helms such bawdy television shows as Celebrity Juice.
Jane Garvey uses only the most fragrant language when she presents Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. Her range of cockwipes will be in stores soon.
Thanks to all the people who contributed their rudest swear word, including the good people of Maximum Fun, but especially Tom Jenkinson's mum.