Have you heard the Alllusionist? It’s a new podcast for Radiotopia from PRX presented and produced by the talented Helen Zaltzman. Every two weeks, she takes listeners on “etymological adventures” with intelligence, wit, and style, typically bringing great guests along. The podcast debuted in January, and since then, she’s explored everything from the origins and evolution of bra to the writing on museum exhibit walls. It’s fun, smart, and eclectic. And it’s always playful–true to the etymology of the podcast’s name, ultimately from the Latin lūdere, “to play”–but never ludicrous.(Collusion, delude, elusive, illusion, interlude, and prelude are all so derived as well.)
Each episode is usually about 15 minutes and you can subscribe like I did through iTunes (and through other providers). I really learned a lot from a recent episode on how spaces between words came about, featuring the brilliant Dr. Kate Wiles. One of my favorites is “Latin Lives!” It’s about a long-running news broadcast from Finland…in Latin. You can enjoy it right here:
Stay tuned to the Allusionist, and stayed posted for more word histories here later this week.