Today there’ll be a celebratory parade of language-related facts that you’ve learned from the Allusionist and I’ve learned from making the Allusionist, so some old facts, some new facts - well, the new facts aren’t recently invented facts, they are established facts, just making their Allusionist debut.Read More
Today: three pieces about alter egos, when your name - the words by which the world knows you - is replaced by another for particular purposes.
How did John Doe come to be the name for a man, alive or dead, identity unknown or concealed in a legal matter? Strap in for a whirlwind ride into some frankly batshit centuries-old English law.
At their first bout of the 2019 season, the London Roller Girls talk about how they chose their roller derby names - or why they chose to get rid of one.
The 1930s and 40s were a golden age for detective fiction, which was also very popular and lucrative. Yet writing it was disreputable enough for authors to hide behind pseudonyms.
SUSIE DENT: There never has been a golden age when everything was as it should be ever. Even though we tend to think that English is now at its most dumbed down, always; I think every generation has thought that.Read More
HZ: So why is swearing good for you?
EMMA BYRNE: It's good for us socially, in that it is this really useful telegraph of our emotions; it's a good way of avoiding physical conflict. It's also a really good way of bonding, of saying "I hear you. I feel the strength of your emotions," like saying "Fuck that shit" when someone comes to you with something that's obviously upset them. Sometimes it needs to be something stronger than just putting your arm around their shoulder going, "Oh there, there". It's also really useful individually, both for a cathartic side of things when you do something painful or frustrating, letting it out there.
HZ: Another reason swearing is good for you: it relieves pain.
EMMA BYRNE: That is really potent and surprisingly well documented. When you stick your hands, for example, in freezing cold water, you can stand it for about half as long again if you’re using a single swear word than if you're using a single neutral word. Not only that: when afterwards you're asked about how painful that experience felt, you report that cold water as feeling much milder than the water that you had your hand in while you were using some neutral word. So we know that it's really handy for dealing with pain that's being inflicted on you. We also know that it's quite useful, for example, among people who are suffering from long term conditions - so not pain that's been inflicted in a lab, the pain that is ongoing. So managing particularly the emotional aspects of long term pain, a good swear can be cathartic.Read More