Allusionist 21: Eponyms I: The Ballad of Bic and Biro

iTUNESRSSSOUNDCLOUDMP3

Naming something after yourself: a grand display of egomania, or the humble willingness to be overshadowed by your own product?

Stationery expert James Ward tells the tale of the people who begat the eponymous ballpoint pens Bic and Biro, because, according to 99% Invisible's Roman Mars, "When it comes to word origins, an eponym is the shortest bet you’re going to get a good story out of it."

ADDITIONAL READING:

If you were creating an eponymous product, what would it be? Mine would be something which doesn't work until the very last minute, just before you throw it away in frustration.

For the next month, there will be new Allusionists every week, each featuring another Radiotopian. If you love Radiotopia's shows and want to help the collective be great, STAY TUNED. Radiotopia needs you. Visit radiotopia.fm on 19th October to find out how you can be involved.

MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
jacquerie

CREDITS:

Come back in a week's time for the next Radiotopial special edition of the Allusionist. If you don't, I'll borrow your pen and not return it.

- HZ

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

 

Allusionist 9: The Space Between

iTUNES RSS SOUNDCLOUD MP3

I know this is a show about words, but forget the words for a moment; look at the spaces between the words. 

Without the spaces, the words would be nigh incomprehensible. And yet, they're a relatively recent linguistic innovation. Dr Kate Wiles explains how English got its spaces.

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS:

Hooray for spaces!

MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
nombril

This episode is sponsored by Tasting Room and Squarespace.com. To order the Tasting Room starter pack of wine samples for the special price of $6.95, visit tastingroom.com/allusionist. Tough luck, winos of the world; Tasting Room only ship to the USA. But wherever you are, you can receive a 10% discount for a year on Squarespace.com using the code Allusion.

Thanks ever so much to all of you who've already filled out the Radiotopia listener survey at surveynerds.com/allusionist; if you haven't, please do! What's in it for you? 1. We can find out how to make our podcasts better for you; 2. you could win some posh Tivoli headphones; 3. altruistic glow.

Come back in a fortnight for the next episode, space cadets!

- HZ

CREDITS

MUSIC:

'Allusionist Theme' - Martin Austwick
'The Spaces In Between' - Ben Christophers

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.