I loved the early episodes of this podcast when the focus was truly on language. Recently, language seems to be an afterthought after the progressive political statements have been made.
Helen Zaltzman does great job putting together interesting bits of information on unexpected topics I’d never considered. Great podcast
Proudly representing grammar, etymology, semantic and linguistic nerds everywhere!
What more is there to say? There's a score or so of podcast(er)s who really shaped the industry into what it is today and Helen with The Allusionist (you'll have to find her elsewhere) is one. Latecomers think it was Serial; they have no idea how much went before. The Allusionist never leaves my list of subscribed to pods and I believe I've purchased something using their code. It's so hard to decide who to allocate my tiny sums to for both purchases and Patreon. And now Slate Plus! I'd do it in a heartbeat ❤️if it didn't add even more content!
Thank you for adding to the canon of queer history that we all deserve and wish we had as young’uns.
I always learn something new and I love the way that Zaltzman weaves in humor. My favorite episodes were the series about names, it was just wonderful. As for people complaining about “politics”, this podcast is about the evolution of language. Language is changing so much right now, especially around the LBGTQA+ community. It’s 100% relevant to the subject of the podcast to talk about. Also just listen to someone who has a different worldview sometimes, you don’t have to agree, but you might learn something.
This show means so much to me. It is as calming and engaging as a wise and supportive friend, but available 24 hours a day. I am very grateful that it exists.
Delicious compact episodes full of fascinating language history. Ever wondered where a word or phrase case from? Helen can dig it up! It’s approachable and her voice was made for podcasting. Don’t miss one episode!
The Allusionist is the closest anyone has come to the platonic ideal of a podcast. The episodes Helen creates are informative, funny, and accessible. They are long enough to tell a good story but not so long that it feels like an effort to listen. The Allusionist also does an amazing job of discussing issues of queerness, indigenous peoples, and colonialism not just by making an episode a corresponding holiday rolls around, but by weaving the themes and voices of folk into every topic.
Love the pod!
This used to be an interesting place to gain knowledge regarding the origin and evolution of languages. Now it is a platform to display all of the current social and cultural concepts of the ideological left. If I wanted a lecture supporting left or right wing extremist ideals, I have a clue as to how to get them. I am taking my ears elsewhere. Adios.
I love how this podcast ties in learning about language with history and current events, and especially how language intersects with social equality. Always a joy to listen and to hear from intelligent guests with job titles I never knew existed. Keep the eps coming!
This is one of my regular go-to podcasts, very well done, super entertaining and has a great host.
Helen Zaltzman has a voice that I could listen to forever with an intellect and wit to match. Her knowledge and ability to teach and learn about language make this an extraordinary podcast that is evergreen and worth more than one listen.
The Allusionist is one of the podcasts I couldn’t cut out of my routine after moving and cutting an hour commute to 10 minutes. It makes the language nerd in me so happy!
I love your show, but I’m not enjoying the reading of words episodes. Please go back to normal. That would bring me comfort...
Thank you, Helen. I love all the Allusionist episodes but the very idea of this one captured me. Then, listening to it; a perfect metaphor for a world turned upside down, read with tenderness, helped me to cry.
I am so happy every time a new episode of The Allusionist appears in my podcast app. Helen has the most magnificent brain and voice, and if I had a life-narrator like in the movie Stranger Than Fiction, I would only want Helen for the job.
I love this podcast—everything about it! I was already interested in the topic and had a coworker recommend it to me. I did not expect it to be so fun and funny as well! Helen is the perfect host. Her smarts, charm, quick wit and dry humor make this one of my favorite podcasts. This is easily binge-able (that SHOULD be a word) and I’m so happy to have so many episodes yet to listen to.
I loved this podcast. Really really loved it. Seems like it's turned into a social/climate justice apologetics campaign. I like the intelligent do dives into language and its idiosyncracies. I don't care about your politics. Learn from the apocryphal Michael Jordan: Republicans buy shoes too. (I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat, both repel me, but not equally, and I love shooting at non-human targets, so I probably don't qualify as civilized or qualified to comment here). [The run-on sentence irony isn't lost on me]
Not everyone gets to take a linguistics class, let alone, for fun! Well, Helen Zaltzman straps you in loosely and you gotta hang on for the ride on the English language roller coaster! No word or topic is too taboo! Episodes always make me laugh AND think, and their brevity, relative to other shows I follow, makes it a great reward at the end of a long day.
I never fail to learn something new from this show. Went to see a live show a few years ago. It was so good to see it vaudeville style. Unforgettable and now when I listen, I know who to picture!
Language is beautiful and weird and one of the finest human creations. Even if you aren’t a linguist (I’m not), you will fall in love with The Allusionist and its host Helen Zalzman. I recommend this to all speakers of language.
Well, my kid is trans and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that you — Helen! — work in support for transgender and other queer folk at every appropriate turn. Helen, first, you are brilliant and second, the Allusionist is brilliant. Your recent episode about engraving touched me and is motivating me to get my ring engraved to give to my 21 yr old trans kid. I also want to pass on an object of strength to them in hopes they will pass it on one day, too. That said, all the episodes are magical gems. My family is hooked on my retelling of your episodes to them. Your podcast contains multitudes. Thank you, Helen and friends.
Changed the way I thought about language forever. This is also one of the best podcasts to recommend to another person because 1) they’re guaranteed to love it 2) you’re guaranteed to look like a smart person for recommending it.
Thanks for posting “tatpurusha” on the episodes website. The audio definition was appropriate, and prompted me look it up since it appeared to fill a place in my ongoing struggles list (i.e. Which is the adjective in “piano player? Neither, it’s a tatpuruša.”)And to find more scarce examples next to it on the website than I find in a month on most WOTD sites was nice. However since they’ve been written once perhaps they can be included in the podcast description. Following the audible, my ear disappointed my hand’s first attempts to spell it.
You have thousands of podcast choices. Choose this one. You’ll be glad you did.
One of my favorite educational podcasts, and the editing is amazing!
I think we we should Have e
But one star demerit for having Dan Pashman on.
I really love the topic of this podcast, but I’m very bothered by the amount and length of the sponsorship blurbs. I must be spoiled by other podcasts I listen to, but I’m used to longer episodes with less breaks for sponsors.
The very definition of infotainment. Helen is a once-in-a-generation podcast talent.
I hate to say it but this one has fallen off. This pod used to be fascinating but it has somehow become an unstructured rambly hodge lodge of verbal jazz loosely tied to whatever this week’s theme is.
You know you’ve made it when you are used as a crossword puzzle clue... check out today’s Philadelphia Inquirer’s puzzle. Clue 21 Across, “Program such as “The Allusionist.” Ans: “PODCAST” Keep up the great work!
If you are looking for a podcast to help your vocabulary while entertaining you, this is it.
The world is confusing and disturbing. This podcast makes sense of things. It’s cheesy, but knowing why certain things are the way they are eases my anxiety. Helen Zaltzman is wonderful. Her voice is perfect, her humor is delightful, and the way she parses language... well I guess that’s the point of the show!
Loved the episode. I have a friend that daily cooks from a book. Something new every day. I had to purchase the guest’s book. Then the bomb! After a wholey satisfying adventure, she tells a story about an illegal meal that makes them seem like a gathering of ghouls lusting after the misery of their victims. Oh well...
To put it simply.....this show is awesome! I’m a newbie to the podcast and a high school science teacher on summer break. I’m jonesing up a storm. Cannot wait to share with my students. Keep up the great job! David Norton Rock Hill, SC
The podcast is endlessly fascinating, clever, and humorous. I share it with my students, colleagues, and friends.
Words good great even job great good good helen
Interesting, and never overstays its welcome. Full of fun facts and thoughtful exploration of the complex ways that words shape the world and the way humans shape languages. The hard work put into it is obvious. It’s polished and entertaining.
Real quick. Any chance you’d do an episode on commonly swapped words. Comprised and composed for example? Or if you already have and I somehow missed it, episode/title? Ps-saw you live in Dublin whilst visiting from California with my father. Wonderful outing for us. He’s the real wordsmith but I’m his doting pome falling short of the shade of his branches... if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Love your show. Mac
I’ve been loving this podcast since 2016. The episode about name changes especially sticks with me. Looking forward to more to come!
Helen has inspired me to think more about language, especially English in my everyday life. She’s truly a wonderfully intelligent host with a soothing voice.
I love Helen’s perspective on the mechanics of communication. Calming dives into interesting concepts. Helen opens up new worlds from the deep exploration of familiar concepts.
I love the english language (because sadly it's the only language I am fluent in) and I really enjoy Helen Zaltzman. Each episode, even if it's not of complete interest to me is still a pleasure to listen to. There are many people in the podcasting world who just don't have the talent and/or the voice for the radio, Helen is one of the people who have both talent and the voice. She has amazingly conversational yet organized dialogue, it's like talking to a good friend each episode.
One of my favorite podcasts. Great for language nerds or anyone who cares about the quirkiness of English. I also appreciate that Helen uses language as a window into many different issues and ideas. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious, always entertaining.
Picture it: the dry wit of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue meets the social impact and relevance of Queer Eye meets the enthusiastic pondering of Radiolab meets the linguistic fascination of Lexicon Valley. Possibly an inadequate description and certainly a mixed bag of references, but take everyone’s word for it — The Allusionist is well worth a listen. My new favourite podcast. Thank you!
I’ve been listening to this podcast and other Radiotopia gems for a while, you never know what you’ll learn. As an amateur linguist hobbyist polyglot myself I’ve always been secretly fascinated with invented languages and this episode is glorious in detail of art and science behind the best invented languages around. Riveting.
The Allusionist is one of my forever favourites. Can you please do an episode on Hibernian English or Irish-English please‽ Also an episode on the language of craft would be amazing. #blowharder #exhalewithvigor
Thoughtful & well researched.
An absolute delight. Brings insight and inspiration to words and their use in conversation that we do not usually think about.
Saw Helen at a PodCon panel, leading to the discovery of this gem of a podcast. Very interesting stuff, very well organized and presented.
Brilliant, fascinating stories I can’t wait to share
Just listened to the quiz podcast, where it seems it’s under appreciated. I love this podcast and Helen sense of humor. A worthwhile download, every fortnight.
The host is so personable and informative. I love this podcast and how it gets at so many angles of linguistics!
I love this podcast. Etymology is so interesting, but Helen goes deeper about the topic. It's thoughtful and insightful, and also fun.
Then listen to this. I’m not even going to waste more of your time (that should be spent listening to this podcast!) right now with this review. Just go and be fascinated by aspects of language and words that you’ve never even considered and/or thought about! And may I add, what a delightful host. Tl;dr: Words = 😊? Then 👂🏻 stat!
Genuinely interesting angles and ideas in each episode, with a lovely balance of sincerity and humor. I have learned a great deal without ever feeling inferior for things I did not know. Fun even if you’re only an amateur fan of language(s), and wildly successful at not taking itself too seriously. Wish I were able to see the live show on tour, which I hear is absolutely fantastic!
I was hooked from the first. Absolutely gleeful to find the perfect podcast for this niche of nerdom. THANK YOU.
Fascinating language-related topics, interesting people and the lovely mind of Helen Zaltzman. Yay!
One of the podcasts in my roster I look forward to the most; The Allusionsit is a superlative trek through the most nerdy of etymolygy and 'word science'. Helen Zaltzman has a downright charming voice and beautiful mind.
A great journey through language with the stellar Helen Zultzman
If you love and want to learn about language this is a podcast for you.
Helen Zaltzman is a unique and clever voice in language studies. There is a careful, considerate tone in her writing and editing that feel like an auditory version of leafing through the library. Plus there's bad jokes.
Thank you Helen for such a great podcast. Always entertaining and informative. Hopefully I punctuated correctly.
I love it!
Goes too fast
Witty and insightful.
Headed to work and put the Allusionist on to hear that our host was quite ill and in hospital. Rest and recover. And a great thanks for playing Ross Sutherland's S.E.I.N.F.E.L.D. performance. Pure magic. Sensational theater. Just exceptional.
I hope you feel better soon.
Loads of language information presented in fun--often funny--laid-back conversations with experts.
I have always loved the study and appreciation of language. I thoroughly enjoy every episode.
Fun and informative.
I love learning about the origins of words and how language has evolved, but this podcast is so much fun and the host is so easy to follow along with, that it's easy for anyone to love this kind of thing. Plus, the episodes are short, so it's an easy investment of your time.
If you've ever wondered how *this word* came to mean *that,* or if similar-sounding words are related, or seriously considered if an unusual word is an acronym (spoiler: it most likely isn't), then this podcast is for you. Although Helen likes to joke about being a pedant, she comes off as very friendly and wise--a tough balance to strike.
New Years Resolution: finally leave reviews for at least your top 50 podcasts. They give you way too much free entertainment. The least you can do is leave them a quick review. New Years Reality: I listen to 50+ exceptional podcasts. I don’t have time to write that many reviews. New Years Solution: Leave this cookie-cutter review for the few(ish) podcasts you love. Only review the ones you would (or have) recommended to people in real life. Review Note: I have listened to hundreds of podcasts, this is (in my humble opinion) the best of the best. Download, enjoy, and then recommend widely.
This show is absolue ear candy for any linguistics lover. Helen Zaltzman is a perfectly funny and charming host, making sure the episodes are always engaging. The episodes discuss language, but often so much more about how language affects the world around us.
I love podcasts where both my curiosity and sense of humor are stimulated. It's true that this is nominally a podcast about words and language, but Helen makes it fascinating and fun for just about everyone.
A linguistic triumph of a podcast.
The Review, in which I, Michele Pain, say, "Well done!"
Listen and be entertained and enlightened and amused. What more could you ask?
Great mind, great humor, great voice: company of the best kind.
I truly enjoy this podcast. Helen Zaltzman is witty and interesting. If you love words and language, you've hit pay dirt!
Always intrigued to hear what comes next!
It took months for me to start listening to this podcast after my friend suggested it. I'm not really big into writing and grammar and I thought this would be an English nerds only type of podcast. Boy was I wrong. Most of the topics have to do with the way we use language every day and it's been really interesting to dive in to. Thanks Helen and Radiotopia!
I would listen to her read the phone book. I suspect she would manage to make even that edifying and hilarious.
Helen Zaltzman is SOOOOOOO funny!
Helen Zaltzman has a gleeful approach to language. So delightful.
Love me some Zaltzman! This is a superb show for both its information and entertainment content. I never miss an episode.
I love Helen's sense of humor, sassiness, wit, and a light dash of sarcasm. If you love etymology and quirky topics this is the place for you. Her show about cryptic crossword puzzles was something I didn't think i would find interesting. I found it enjoyable. Ended up rooting for Bruce.
Delighted to have discovered this highly intelligent, well-spoken woman who brings all sorts of fascinating things into my life.
Thank you for the bite-sized show in a format that is creative, informative and just long enough for my daily commute! DHC
Helen, as a rabid consumer of podcasts, this was one of the most touching and beautiful episodes that I've ever heard. I have never felt compelled to write a review without solicitation until now. This gave me a rare case of simultaneous chills and serene clarity - I'm so glad I listened. Thanks, best regards, and I believe you deserve an award for this.
I listen to a LOT of podcasts, and some I listen to only when I have nothing else. But I listen to The Allusionist when it shows up in my feed. Helen is smart, her shows are topical to what's going on in the world, and she's delightfully funny. Her voice is easy on the ears too.
5 stars to the episodes that use the dissection of words to talk about challenging subjects like sexuality (the "Under the Covers" episodes are A+), gender ("Joins"), and immigration ("Sanctuary" and "The Away Team"). Helen is a charming host who brings humor to the show.
Thinkin' 'bout language. Think about this podcast.
Unique Fun Silly and might even learn something new
Such a wonderful podcast. I look forward to every episode.
Love the host and her passion for words. Educational and entertaining.
If you enjoy playing with words, get excited about arcane word histories and think the words we use help shape the society we live in - you should be listening to Helen. Yes, I think of her as Helen because I'd like to think that if we ever met we'd be friends.
Helen, I love you!
Love this podcast. Unexpectedly edgey and progressive. Helen is awesome.
One of the best
👏🏼👏🏼 - inclusive, well researched, and endlessly interesting.
Such an enjoyable exploration of words and language! I've learned a lot of new things from this podcast
I've been enjoying the Allusionist since it first appeared (heard about it on Answer Me This.) The level of wit, intelligence, and subtle humor packed into these short shows is stunning. My recent favorite is the BC/AD program that just aired in June 2017. An epic tour of calendars and date tracking. Wowza! (Oh, and Helen S. has a great voice, which is always a big plus.)
As an avid D&D fan I alway love expanding my lexicon with a few precise new words to befuddle my players along with making the whole experience of interpersonal communication more rewarding. The quick hits of topics and fact plus the research that goes into the smooth delivery of the podcast is well done. The narrator, Zaltzman, has a wonderful voice and her guests are all colorful in their own special ways of elaborating on the points and pratfalls of the spoken language. Shame I did binge listen to the entire series in three days but with such great content I plan to listen to this again before the next Scrabble tournament.
People who love linguistics often possess a superior, I venture to say, More-English-than-Thou attitude. This makes the Allusionist a perfect show.
She's so smart and funny and good and pure, I love Helen and this podcast is honestly so super interesting. I feel smarter just listening to it.
Engaging host, interesting explorations of language and words—it's a really fun podcast to listen to. HIghly recommended!
You will love this podcast!
Really enjoy the tone and humor of this podcast. I like the shorter length of the episodes. Helen is a great narrator.
One thing though: please consider using less music as it often just makes it harder to hear Helen speak.
This is the best podcast about language I've heard. It has just the right wit and focus to ground observations about word usage and etymology in everyday social issues such as sex, LGBT issues, immigration, and politics. Episodes are well balanced betweenpedantic and practical, and are just the right length to actually be able to retain their information between episodes. An informative and entertaining listen!
I come for Helen, I stay for Helen.
So witty and fun! I usually can't stand waiting two weeks for a new episode, but I keep coming back to The Allusionist!
Perfect podcast: 15-20 minutes of fascinating content about words and their intersection with reality.
Always put me in a good mood while teaching me something signicicant. Love HER!
I've been binge listening...love it. Nerd fest:)
As a teacher of etymology I approve
Thank you for sharing your wit with the world.
If you love language and words, this will be your favorite podcast at the first episode. And the intro bass line is something I look forward to even at times when I'm not listening!
Perfect pod for the word nerd
There are two things I love about the Allusionist: First is the nerdy deep dives into linguistic and etymological topics. Second is Helen Zaltzman's charming irreverance. This is a thoughtfully researched and produced podcast, but with a small bit of quirky humor that makes it an absolute joy to listen to.
Entertaining, fun wordplay.
And Helen's voice is so pleasant to listen to. My only complaint? I wish it came out more often.
Love this podcast. Always learn new things here and laugh on my commute.
This podcast is fun, informative, and feels personal, like a labor of love. I wish Helen Zaltzman was my friend.
love this cast, great departure from gross politics
I always forget that a special surprise is coming at the end of each episode, and I am delighted every time when it appears. Zaltzman picks a random dictionary word for a listener. She posts a picture of the word on the website too. I don't know when I'll use the term "Welsh onion" but it's entertaining nonetheless. This is one of the few podcasts in my subscription list that I check really often just to see if a new episode is up yet, even though I know it's usually posted every week. I just want more!
Words and language! Few things are more interesting. I am a late joiner of the Helen Zaltzman Fan Club, but zounds, she is good.
She is entertaining and informative. I hope she is more frequent this year.
Helen is truly dazzling. In addition to being brilliant, she has an amazing sense of humor and a voice unlike anyone else I've heard. It's the perfect blend of soothing, instructive, and aloof.
Helen Zaltzman uses an engaging hook, a tight focus, solid research, and more than a modicum of dry British humour to bring etymology and language to a broader audience. Running at 15-20 minutes, it's an excellent addition to any rotation.
Helen Zaltzman is a pleasure to listen to and delightfully witty. The info. is fascinating.
This is a fun and intellectual podcast. Helen is a fantastic host. I could not recommend this more, listen to this podcast!
... Things you never knew
Hell yeah Helen Zaltzman!
I found The Allusionist through the 99% Invisible podcast. After catching up on 99pi and the memory palace, I launched myself into The Allusionist. It is equally fascinating, entertaining and amusing! Helen Zaltzman is informed, absorbed in her material and is engaging to listen to. I find myself recalling fondly evenings in childhood, hours spent flipping through Eric Partridge's Origins with my father. If you have ever gotten lost in a dictionary, like words and where they come from (and possibly have a tortured relationship with puns:)), you'll enjoy the podcast.
Both informative and enjoyable to listen to, I found the Allusionist through Helen's other podcast, Answer Me This!, and am thrilled to have more of her unique voice in the podcasting world.
Short and sweet, pretty perfect.
Helen is a delight. I wish I could sit down to tea with her and listen to her unpack the English language for hours every weekend. As it is, I must content myself with this podcast, well-packaged nuggets of grammatical and linguistic trivia interspersed with dry with and a fabulous accent.
If you love learning about the origins of words, this is the podcast for you.
I am not a word nerd, but I love Helen's enthusiasm! I nerd out with her for 20 min every two weeks!! And doesn't she have the best voice?! I love it!
I love it-- I love it all!
My new favorite Podcast! Also, Helen's voice is aurally supreme! Nothing but good things to say about this wonderful show!
Helen is very witty and makes word play fun. Strange. Nerdy. Great production.
Just listen once and you'll be hooked.
You might want to check Snopes or other sources before assuming a seemingly ridiculous "news story" is true, even when it is about a Republican and Christian you imagine actually would say something so stupid. The podcast is generally an entertaining and educational show, well worth a listen, despite occasional hiccups in sound quality due to interview connections (not unusual in the realm of podcasts or radio, for that matter). The program, and Helen, are a consistent part of my podcast consumption.
Once you go Helen, you never go back (as the old saying goes). Radiotopia is a great resource and this podcast is a cornerstone of their quality programming. I became acquainted with Helen from Answer Me This (a spot on trivia/advice pod) and I dig everything she does. Indispensable material for a modern, curated podcast collection. A+++
Helen has a brilliant radio presence and a firm focus on her topic. Educational and entertaining
I love Helen Zaltzman's excellent show, it's funny and entertaining. I especially liked show #33, Please, about how this word is used differently on both sides of the Atlantic. Etymology (the history and origin of words) at its very best.
I purposely spelled delite wrong because that is a linguistic practice that has always bothered me. Like lite dressing, and drive thru. Where did the gh go? This is the only podcast that will answer those sorts of hard hitting questions.
If you’re into etymology and humor, and who isn’t, then this is the show for you.
Extremely interesting tidbits on the nuances of langauge and where words came from. If that all intigues you, you'll find many things in this podcast that pique your interest.
Helen Zaltzman packs a great deal of etymology into a brif podcast. Always a delight.
Thanks, Helen for the always insightful and witty episodes of... dear god, I'm going to say, "edu-tainment" (sorry).
One of my favorite podcasts. Snarky and smart!
One of the best podcasts out there!
A wonderful show about words and their origins. I can finally explain why "octopi" is not the correct plural! Informative, funny, and the host has a lovely accent.
Unique, entertaining take on language. Creatively reported, well produced.
Always fresh and slightly cynical. Helen is great and my only regret is that it is rather short and only comes out every 2 weeks.
That's how I feel when I listen to this podcast. #5 just blew my mind, because I learned Latin in high school, (3 years) and it lead to my having ridiculously high scores on my SATs, and I credit it for much of my verbal knowledge base and my ease with language. I'm sorry it's gone from our school system, and so should the US be. This explains about the dumbing down of our schools, because students have been mocked forever for studying Latin. I've always considered it my secret weapon in life. This podcast made me realize that there are more ways of learning that are disappearing from our schools. The denial of science is the most pressing issue of education today. Evolution is real. Climate change is real. We're being told it's not happening by our politicians and corporations. Their making fun of science is the dumbing down of America. Yes, I got a vision to all that, listening to #5. I'm a huge fan, and it just got better. Yeah, I guess I'd say, "Listen. She's amazing, funny and smart. See if you agree." And check out her other podcast, Ask Me Another. Amazing woman.
Helen Zaltzman is smart and funny simultaneously. GOOD podcasts are hard to find. The Allusionist is GREAT!
And well worth a look
Smart, informative and fun
Very well done podcast. Helene is charming, witty, and cheeky. I listen all day at work. I love it.
Pair this with "Lexicon Valley" to get your weekly fixes of the latest developments in the ways people are constantly reinventing English. Also, enjoy Helen's cracking wit.
This adorably awkward British podcaster is in my opinion funner that her only slightly less funny husband (who is himself quite funny making her very funny)
So smart, so we'll done. Just right.
can't get enough of it
Love Helen Zaltzman's way of presenting complex topics simply, hilariously, and thoughtfully. Of all of the jibs, hers is definitely cut the best! Tune in to be delighted and made slightly smarter each month! My only complaint is that i can't hear it more often.
A smart, funny, articulate host and fascinating subject matter.
This gurl has got words for days. You're all like "How many words could there be?" Turns out; quite a bit. She owns a dictionary and everything. Did you ever wonder where words come from? I always thought 'the bible' was the answer as it typically is, but it turns out many words other origins; like such as "the past". I learnt to talk real good from ma'am zaltzman
She is so very funny. I would honestly listen to her talk about anything, including language. I was raised in West Virginia by two wild dogs disguised as humans so I actually learn a bit but mostly I listen because the host is great.
I have loved every single episode of "The Allusionist". It's entertaining, informative, educational, surprising, and clever.
In wading through the literally thousands of podcasts out there, I often find myself disappointed. Not so with The Allusionist. This is one podcast that is always well thought out, completely educational and interesting every time. I maintain a stable of 20 or so podcasts that I listen to regularly. Some get added from time to time but do not stay on the list for long. The Allusionist has been there for years and I will stay with it for as long as it is available. Helen Zaltzman brings humor and interest to things that were previously mostly taken for granted. She is a real gem......
No seriously, there is no reason to continue reading reviews for this show. It is worth your time, I assure you. Are you still reading this? Are you at least listening while you do? I hope you're listening while you do because if not, you're wasting precious time that could have been spent learning and laughing. Do you not want to learn or laugh? Are you a monster? Stop being a monster and listen to this show. It cures all monster illnesses. Werewolfism, Vampirism, zombie virus, Sasquatch infestation, toddlers that ONLY watch 'Monsters, Inc'. The list goes on and on. Have a relative that's voting Trump? It'll cure that monster too.
I love this podcast. I love words and Helen’s enthusiasm for them is infectious.
The Allusionist, magically, has something for everyone- not just word nerds, AMT fans, Buglers, or Radiotopians. Each episode is interesting, with Helen Zaltzman's comprehensive look into a topic. The expert she interviews is always interesting, even if their subject - linguistics - doesn't seem to be inherently thrilling. Zaltzman makes learning the history behind words interesting, especially how they influence our daily speech. I would give it 6 stars if I could.
i probably cite things i learn from this podcast more than any other. it's word-nerdy without being prescriptivist or rude. it's actually quite the opposite: funny and receptive to all of the different ways words have evolved. also helen is a damned delight to listen to.
Great podcast! One of my faves.
I love this snappy podcast. The segments are fantastic, Helen is hilarious and I love listening to her. I had no idea I'd love a podcast about etymology, and because this one is so well done, I love. Thank you!
Make sure to have your notes app ready when listening to this podcast! It's a great exploration of all the peculiarities of language, from etymology to differences across cultures. I love jotting down my favorite words as I'm listening.
If you love words and language, you can’t go wrong.
British podcaster Helen Zaltzman delves into the varied world of eponyms and portmanteaus with aplomb. Bite-sized fun, this is the kind of podcast that can enliven even a quick commute, and make you seem extra-knowledgeable at the office.
She’s brilliant, funny, quick, and so much fun. I’m in love!
Concise, wordful and full of fun!
Helen is my hero. This podcast is so funny and so smart and I always learn something.
(Complimentary review & prompt to subscribe)
Entertaining, full of information, great topics, witty hostess with a great voice, perfect editing … one of my all time favourite!
Fun podcast! Ms. Zaltzman is charming.
I cannot express how much this podcast fills me with glee. I went into it having a passing interest in the etymology of words and phrases, and it has since become an obsession of mine. Helen is by far the most entertaining podcast host around.
Helen Zaltzman is a terrific host and podcaster. Her other show, Answer Me This, prominently features her humor and quick wit as she’s talking to Olly and Martin, and their banter and chemistry are terrific. Here on her own she’s just as funny, veering from wry deadpan to somewhat manic outbursts. But at its core the show is an exploration of words and phrases, and its her curiosity that propel the show. I’m a huge fan and recommend this highly!
Helen puts together a great show and should be given a medal (can you tell me where the word “medal” comes from and what relationship it has, if any, with the “metal” of which it is made?)
It seems I'm working through all of radiotopia and between this and 99pi they're my favorite podcasts I listen to. She's funny and witty and the British accent makes me smile. I love hearing about the history of words and how they came to be used how we use them and it's a wonderful podcast. Sometimes I wish they went on longer than the 20 minutes or so.
I wouldn't complain if it were a daily cast like Writer's Almanac. Helen is not only smart but hilariously funny and her lovely voice is a huge plus as well. More episodes, please!
I was a little skeptical at first, but now I love this podcast. I've always love words and meanings, and she make it even more fun. It's great, just like all the other Radiotopia podcasts.
I love this podcast. The host clearly cares about the material she's covering and she is engaging and funny to boot. A brilliant, funny, quick podcast for your morning jog or your afternoon tea.
Completely worth it.
This is probably my favorite podcast ever. Helen is absolutely hysterical and I learn so many things every episode! I laugh out loud to myself pretty regularly. Thankfully I listen in my car so I don't look like a fool. I can't recommend this podcast enough. If you're having a crap day, it's the perfect length to squeeze in to make your day better.
It's etymology and current use and context. It's often funny and quirky. It's only problem is technical. Sound is inconsistent. But I imagine that time and experience will fix that.
Helen brings a true love of words (logophilia!) and a charming wit to this sprawling podcast that encompasses everything from etymology to the forgotten bits of history to thoughtful meditations on language and culture. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
I look forward to listening to every episode of this show. Great combo of education and humor!
Helen is not for everyone, she will speak her mind and her accent can really dig in to you. But the show is fun, the host enjoys every bit of the experience and wants the listeners to enjoy the results. The show features dives into tricks of language and often just follows flights of fancy.
I only recently discovered this gem of a podcast and I'm in love! The epitome of edutaining! And Helen, you are a heavenly hostess. Thank you for brightening my days and teaching me things I never knew. :-)
I realized I was going through Allusionist withdrawal when January was dry. I could listen to Helen Zaltzman all day, and I would like the content even if spoken by someone unappealing. Put them together, though, and when I see there’s a new Allusionist, I listen.
Etymology is so interesting, and Helen Zaltzman knows how to find great and compelling topics. I contributed to Radiotopia to show my support, and Helen is one of the reasons why.
Just the right amount of humor mixed with the cultural history of words. Zaltzman has a mean way with metaphors as well, which delights me as much as the rest of this excellent podcast. Highly recommended for word nerds.
I’m already quite a word nerd, so I came to this new show already predisposed to love it. But what put it over the top for me is that it’s not just trivia for trivia’s sake—it’s not just wacky, out-of-context facts. Helen imbues her research and her guest interviews with a point of view that’s critical, analytical, skeptical, hilarious, and wildly curious. She also moves beyond just presenting information and ask questions about what the information tells us, what it means, why it matters, especially in the here and now, which seems to be the exception rather than the rule both for trivia-based podcasts and for people who are serious about linguistics. I like that she doesn’t seem afraid to get technical or be a bit cheeky—there’s no pandering here and sometimes that means it gets a bit serious or could be construed as offensive, but I love the range and complexity of the show.
Helen is my word guru. I simply can't get enough.
The idea is wonderful but the delivery is poor. The host is smug and arrogant. The interviews are terrible. Please find a new personality for this and I will come back.
Not only do I love the subject matter (geek!) but Helen’s delivery and turn of phrase make me laugh out loud (in the car, not on the bus). The other authors she introduces are also fascinating and I’ve found some great reading from her links. Keep these coming!
Always provides surprises and delights. How can anyone not love Helen and what comes out of her mouth. I support the show because of its content and its delivery, not because of her left eyebrow, although it is probably intimidating.
...who is a little intimidating. Helen Zaltzman has a confidence and independence that shines through all. When she leans into the particulars of a word or social practice, you know that you should pay careful attention both for the information and the wry remarks she slips into her interviews and narrative.
I am afraid to write a review here because we are the crowd who love grammar and proper punctuation, but I won't let my fears stop me today! I was content listening to my very serious podcasts, when I accidentally ran into Hellen Zaltsman with The Allusionist and was so excited to hear myself laughing out loud! I have yet to stop laughing and learning and having a blast! I now subscribe to Answer Me This to avoid HZ withdrawals.
I am regularly chomping at the bit awaiting the drop of this podcast. Would that I could have Helen’s witticisms and charm dance across my ear drums daily, her thoughts and humanity are throughly refreshing. Total treat. Goddamnit.
I listen to a LOT of podcasts, and it is difficult to distinguish a favorite among them—except for The Allusionist. For me, as a lover of history, language and etymology, there is no better way to spend 15 minutes of one’s day than listening to this podcast. Her command of a true broadcast voice, coupled with a slightly irreverent take on just about everything, has me glued to my earbuds the day the podcast drops, which sadly is only once a fortnight. Great job, Helen! I think I may be falling for you, and have already begun day dreaming of what spending a lifetime with you would be like. As I brush my hair in front of the mirror, I quietly rehearse the words…”Mr. Stephen Zaltznan” over and over until my soul is soothed. But then my husband gets home and I remember that I’m gay and married, so it probably would not have worked out anyway.
The barrage of thought and analysis of words is matched only by the creative mind of Helen Zaltzman. I wish there were 10 times as many episodes to choose from: I can binge listen to her work for hours on end.
What a fun show!
What a great podcast. I have been a fan of Answer Me This podcast, and found The Allusionist from there. The content is excellent - wish the show came out even more frequently.
Best way to be infotained other than Answer Me This. Thanks Helen.
The Allusionist grabbed me right out of the gate. Lovely 15-minute vignettes on the English language that delight and fascinate. I may never get a chance to meet Helen and enjoy her wit and humor over a cup of tea, but this is the next best thing.
Etymology rocks and so does this podcast
This is one of my favorite podcasts. Your life is not complete until you subscribe to the allusionist.
... but you might actually learn something enjoyable
Love the cheekiness, humor, and the serious research/investigation that goes into this podcast.
I think that's a descriptor given to the best quality banjos. Helen Zaltzman is the best banjo... Actually, the Allusionist podcast is one of the best for subject, content, voice, wit. It deserves to be in the great company of the other Radiotopia podcasts. I love wordplay and Helen keeps me smiling and chuckling.
I subscribe to two dozen podcasts, so it takes a while to get around to some of them, but I can't wait a day before listening to The Allusionist. Charming and informative.
I love this podcast. Witty and wise, filled with metaphors that occasionally make me laugh out loud and information about words and word usage that can’t help but interest. Highly recommended.
I am enamored with Helen Zaltzman's enigmatic elocution in each episode where she elicits entertainment from enumerable exitations of etymology in the English language. I am educated beyond the elementary errata of our elastic grammar including even expletives. Extremely ecstatic over each and every episode.
I love her style of teaching about the underbelly of English.
the allusionist is like a weekly course in becoming my perfect, British self.
One of my new favorites. Radiotopia never let's me down. Funny host with a great voice. Always nice when learning is entertaining.
Words are great, and interesting. But not all podcasts about words are great and interesting. The Allusionist is.
Helen Zaltzman manages to make language personable, fun, and entertaining while informing us lucky listeners.
Never heard anything like it! A podcast about the English language, with an education and a sense of humor! Keep up the good work!
words, language, culture and history. This podcast is snappy and always entertaining.
This might be my number-one favorite podcast ever. (And I listen to a LOT of podcasts.) I love words and language, and this podcast always has something new and interesting to teach me. Plus, of course, as an American, I’m utterly beguiled by Helen’s accent. Literally my only criticism is that I wish episodes were longer and/or came out more often.
On content this is a 4-5 star program. But the interviews, which often take up a large portion of the program, are of such poor sound quality that they are mostly unintelligible (they seem to be over a bad phone/Internet connection). I hesitate to lower the rating so much for a production issue, but I just can't understand large portions of the program and have quit listening as a result.
The podcast is amazing in very many things. It is informative and fun. However, one of the episodes I could not get through because it was mostly and interview via Skype with an audio quality that gave me a horrible head ache. Please don't do Skype interviews with such bad audio quality, I had to leave the ep at half way because of it.
Enjoy the content enough, but I literally find it difficult to listen to because the levels are so poor. She seems to do a lot of her interviews by phone, and it makes for very soft/jarbled/scratchy interviews.
Love the end and beginning bits but some of the topics are a bit, bland. Also PLEASE no more phone interviews. I cannot understand a thing. I'm thinking The Fix and also there was another earlier episode with the same problem.
Helen, I love the podcast. But. It's hard to hear the interesting interviewees when you track music over them. Eek!
Helen Zaltzman is a genius. This show is always the perfect length, about perfectly interesting topics, and beyond the perfect amount of funny. She wouldn't like my third use of "perfect" here because you can't be beyond perfect. Except: she can.
I like this podcast enough to rate and review it on iTunes, even though I don't use iTunes. That's how much I like it.
Quick little meditations on language, with a bit of good humor. Very informative.
Intellectual and earthy, Lots of fun.
Helen mixes humor with substance and connects words and language with real life, so the episodes never feel too precious. An incredible balancing act, made to look easy. If you haven’t listened yet, you’ve got real fun ahead.
If anyone can take a dry subject like grammar and turn it into something interesting and humorous, it's Helen Zaltzman. I love her other podcast, Answer Me This, and I was excited to hear of this one. "Detonating The C-Word" was f-ing brilliant. You MUST check this out.
You want to know where words come from and why we use them the way we do and Ms Zaltzman is here to tell you.
Entertaining and knowledgeable
Helen Zaltsman is sassy and witty, and I love her British accent. Super interesting and short episodes.
This podcast is simply put: phenomenal. I look forward to this podcast weekly and am never let down. The wit, knowledge, and humor that is this podcast is exceptional. This is a must listen for anyone out there. As a fellow podcaster of Couple Things Podcast, Helen gives a great voice to female podcasters around the world!
Helen is a joy to listen to, such fun has not been had in years. I recommended this to ll my friends.
Somehow this podcast makes me care about the origin and use of words.
I could listen to this podcaster talk about anything - even her obligatory sponsor segments are witty and charming. Keep them coming, Helen Zaltzman! Another Radiotopia winner!
Helen's voice reminds me of many of my Brit friends, and this podcast is filled with so much well-researched information. It's also often hilarious. If you love words, wordplay, and history you will love it.
What a voice, what fun: quick and quick-witted podcasts that pack so much into so few minutes.
Happy with this new addition to Radiotopia!
If you enjoy learning the history of words and phrases this is the podcast for you.
Helen’s fun and informative and the show provides a valuable service for those of us who no longer have paper dictionaries to browse, so we need to get our interesting etymology tidbits elsewhere. And without this podcast, I wouldn’t know that dictionaries have fake entries… really!
As others have said, I’d listen to anything she does. She’s brilliant, British, and hilarious ! Love this and “Answer Me This"
If you love the English language, you’ll love this podcast. Helen, you’ve got a new fan over here!
Those of us entranced with words have cause to rejoice! A wonderful listen.
If you like words and language and expertly edited radio - and don't we all? - you should listen to The Allusionist. Informative and fun explorations of words and language and culture in relatively brief, but powerful, packages.
I love the host- love her voice, love her personality. The episodes aren’t particularly insightful though. Its mostly fun topics with little bits of information. I wish it were a bit more meaty.
Give me more!
Just listen to the podcast entitled Detonating the C Bomb. Your'e welcome. Smart, funny, and good production value.
Concise and amusing history and facts about all kinds of different language-y things. Helen has a lovely voice, and often ties in short segments with guests seemlessly into a fun little show. It seems to be well researched and is woven toghether with Helen's wit and genuine interest in the subjects. Come take a stroll down C***grope lane! (Re: Ep: 4)
Creative, informative, and very funny! This podcast is everything I wanted and more! Who would've thought a podcast about words would be so entertaining!
Great new podcast, I hope it sustains its performance evidenced in the first three episodes. Listening to Helen's voice is like listening to honey.
I've been hoping for a good linguistic podcast and this is delivering, though it's still finding its voice and legs I will stay subscribed and continue listening in
This show, which is new to the PRX stable, holds up to the collective’s consistently superior levels of quality. It is well produced, the host is delightful as well as informative, you learn some stuff and are entertained at the same time. Well Done!
I can only imagine how much fun the Zaltzman household was when Helen and Andy were children. The simple and well produced episodes of The Allusionist are a joy. Cheers from Chicago!
Highly enjoyable and full of interesting moments, the Allusionist is a valuable listen and Helen is a trusty, skilled host. Thank you for this new series, leep em coming!
I love Helen - so smart and articulate. I would listen to anything she does.
Episode one is almost unlistenable; while the second is more nearly acceptable. As a Radiotopia fan I have some hope, but this one is not off to a good start.
For philologists and normal folk alike, this podcast is funny and fascinating. Helen Zaltzman produces and stars in this thoughtful exploration of culture through words and their evolving use and meaning. For listeners of Answer Me This, The Allusionist is similarly silly and fun, but it's also substantial.
I wanted to love this podcast. I like similar word play / etymology interests podcasts, but I find this one very boring. I'm a very big fan of everything Radiotopia -- alas, except this podcast. I think it was a mistake to give this podcast the green light on the basis of a general idea. Perhaps past experience deserved the "go ahead" -- but I can't help but think this prestigious spot could have gone to a NEW female voice. So sorry from a Radiotopia fan and financial supporter.
Yes! A hundred times yes! I recommend this for all English majors, etymology lovers, and anyone who enjoys a good wit.
A subject I love hosted by my favorite podcaststress.
Yhaaaaaa. I'm the 2nd comment.
I listened to the first two podcasts and was amazed as its witty fun and has a lot of little history info in each segment that shows how much work the podcaster put into research, yet it's edited down into a quick 15 -20 minute session in case you have a short attention span so that there is no danger of you having to rewind because your mind wandered off somewhere! Looking forward to the third podcast! Bruce
Yes! We've finally got a podcaster who doesn't mince words in her practice of mincing their meanings. More than just linguistics, The Allusionist takes a crack at history, culture and current affairs with a cheeky wit that almost smarts. Worst thing about this podcast is the wait—2 weeks between episodes? Oh where will I get my word on till then? Maybe if I listen to Lexicon Valley at double speed mashed up with reruns of Language Bites, then I'll come close, but really Helen, must you be so allusive? Yes, you must. Best new pod of 2015!