Today’s episode is the annual bonus Allusionist, featuring outtakes from some of this year’s guests saying things that were not necessarily related to the topic of the original episode, or even related to language at all, but I thought, “Hmm! Interesting!” and filed them away until THIS MOMENT.
This is not a typical episode of the Allusionist, so if this is your first time here, welcome! And do try a few different episodes of the show to get a picture. This year there have been episodes about your names, and superhero names; about how swearing can be good for your health, and so can novels; about tattoos, and typing champions; about how the drive to survive sent the Welsh language across an ocean, and the Scots language to hide at home; and many more. Thanks so much for spending time with me over 2018.Read More
In normal speech, vocables perform various functions - for instance, 'um' and 'ah' buy us time to think, and paper over cracks in our phrases; and babies testing out their vocal cords tend to be pretty keen on the vocables. Not sure they have a wealth of alternatives at that stage, to be honest. So in speech, vocables aren’t meaningful, or consequential, or even intentional - but in song, they can be all these things. All those la la las and dum di dums and bom bom do be de doos are ubiquitous in songs - so what are they doing there?Read More