To mark the 100th episode of the Allusionist, here’s a celebratory parade of language-related facts.Read More
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
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.Read More
Throughout the year, I've been stockpiling your requests for etymologies, and for the last episode of 2015, here are some answers! Ever wondered about the correct plural of 'octopus', who was the original nemesis, or whether 'picnic' is racist?
There's also a sprinkling of anecdotes there wasn't room for in the show earlier this year. Prepare for Klingon, acid trips, Cliff Richard, and Michael Palin's cock.Read More
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There’s a language which is said to be the smallest language in the world. It has around 123 words, five vowels, nine consonants, and apparently you can become fluent in it with around 30 hours’ study. It was invented by linguist Sonja Lang in 2001, and it’s called Toki Pona.
And fellow Radiotopian Nate DiMeo, from the Memory Palace, decided we should learn it together.
- tokipona.org is your first stop for Toki Pona information, such as Sonja Lang's book and the Facebook group.
- This is the article that first piqued Nate's and my interest in Toki Pona. I also enjoyed reading about this two-day Toki Pona learning binge.
- A Finnish psychiatrist experimented with getting his patients to record their thoughts in Toki Pona every day.
- Hey, linguistic size queens: here's a piece comparing number of words in different languages, and here are some stats for you.
- I need to read In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent, who appeared in this early episode of 99% Invisible about Esperanto.
- There are a lot more invented languages; here are a few mentioned in this episode: Kēlen, Ithkuil, Blissymbols, Lojban, Klingon, Elvish, Na'vi...
- Here's the transcript of this episode.
At time of publication, there are 20 hours left to join the Radiotopia funding drive and support our thirteen shows (and attend to your own desires for challenge coins and Tshirts and such).
SIMON, LOUISE, ANJALI & MATHEW'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
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- Nate DiMeo makes the beautiful podcast The Memory Palace thememorypalace.us.
- PRX are the power behind the Radiotopia throne. They work on many wonderful projects, and their latest is the Esquire Classic podcast, which you can find here.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Thanks to Eleanor McDowall.
- Martin Austwick provided all the music apart from the instrumental version of Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger'.
- Communicate with me minimalistically at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.