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The Spot: Excavating Ancient Curse Words

Detroit Publishing Co.; Library of Congress
Fancy a dip in the murky Roman Baths and Abbey in Bath, England?

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers...

Curse Soup” from podcast The Allusionist, November 2017. 

The Allusionist is hosted by Helen Zaltzman, who takes us along on her personal lexicological quests, with dozens of episodes focusing on subjects like the etymological history of the term “Gay Pride”, the evolution of accents, “technobabble”, and emoji as a language.

In one of her most recent episodes, Helen takes us to the bottom of ancient baths to uncover just how and with what words humans used to curse the heck out of each other with. 

Listen to more episodes at theallusionist.org or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RadioPublic.


The Allusionist is coming to the Brava Theater for a live performance at this year’s SF Sketchfest. Hear never before stories produced by The Allusionist team, and take part in a show meant to be experiences in person, rather than through earbuds. Friday, January 12, 2018 at 10:00 p.m. at Brava Theater, 2781 24th Street in San Francisco. Find tickets are more information at sfsketchfest.com

This week's episode featured music from: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Django Reinhardt, and Fountains of Wayne

If you have a suggestion for a podcast or an audio project we should feature, please drop us a line at thespot@kalw.org.

Tune in next week for another episode of The Spot, only on KALW San Francisco.