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.Read More
Strange or obtuse; a stinging homophobic slur; a radical political rejection of normativity; a broad term encompassing every and any variation on sexual orientation and gender identity: the word 'queer' has a multifarious past and complicated present. This is just a fraction of it.
Tracing the word's movements are Kathy Tu and Tobin Low from Nancy podcast, Eric Marcus from Making Gay History, and historian and author Amy Sueyoshi, with Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye.Read More
Remember when 'viral' used to only mean something bad, IE something that would make you ill or destroy your computer?
How things have changed. Tom Phillips from BuzzFeed UK explains how they choose the language to make their content go viral. Why does Buzzfeed steer clear of round numbers, sarcasm and irony? Will the internet ever reach Peak Hyperbole? What's the curiosity gap and how do you cross it? Find out all by listening to the show via iTunes, SoundCloud, or through your favoured podcast directory. The RSS feed is http://feeds.theallusionist.org/Allusionist.
A bit of additional reading:
- Buzzfeed not only analyses its own language, but also that of White House press secretaries to discover which president's regime is the cagiest.
- Here's BuzzFeed's style guide, for your interest.
- If you can't be bothered to study it, Time has interpreted its linguistic signifance for you.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
This episode was sponsored by Squarespace.com. Use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off their website-hosting and -building services for a year, during which you'll be spewing out viral content like nobody's business.
Despite my mild cynicism in this episode about the imperative to share content far and wide, you are of course more than welcome to share this episode - and to say hi at facebook.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/allusionistshow.
Presented and produced by Helen Zaltzman.
'Allusionist Theme' - Martin Austwick
'Chocolate Rain' [instrumental] - Tay Zonday
'Gangnam Style' [instrumental] - PSY