To mark the 100th episode of the Allusionist, here’s a celebratory parade of language-related facts.Read More
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I'm not usually one to yearn for the past, but today, trying to find a clear definition for what a continent is, I find myself thinking, "Pangaea. One single continent. That was a simpler time."
Plus: more 'please'. Following the previous episode, listeners from several continents have contributed their local experience of 'please' usage, in what eventually will surely be considered the definitive global study of human niceties. Also, Lynne Murphy and Rachele De Felice return to explain how 'thank you' is not necessarily an expression of gratitude.
TL;DR: trust nothing.
- Yeah but come on, what IS a continent? Anyone?
- How the continents - whatever the hell they are - got their names.
- Learn about Pangaea and Panthalassa, so you’re prepared when the next supercontinent shows up.
- How and why non-European countries can compete in the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Cincinnati Please.
- “This is a shocked pair of girls who have just heard the apologetic U.S. soldier say that he looked like a bum. In English slang, he said he looked like his own backside.” Thanks to listener Mike for sending me this 1942 advice for Americans visiting Britain. So many linguistic obstacles for transatlantic travel(l)ers!
- There's a transcript of this episode at theallusionist.org/transcripts/continental.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS:
1. BOMBAS. For every pair of expertly engineered socks you buy, Bombas will donate a pair to a homeless shelter. Treat your feet and somebody else's: go to bombas.com/allusionist and use the offer code allusionist at checkout for 20% off.
2. SQUARESPACE. Look, muggins, if you have a great idea, you need a great website. Build one. Build one RIGHT NOW! Or at least in the time it takes to click on squarespace.com/allusion for your free trial.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Linguist and 'please' investigator Lynne Murphy's blog is separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com and she is @lynneguist on Twitter. Rachele De Felice is @racagain on Twitter.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman, with music by Martin Austwick. Martin's continental drift-inspired instrument-free instrumental was the result of combining boredom, Garageband for iPad and all the homemade percussion options offered by a B&B room in Utah.