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Listener Warren requested the history of the word ‘tawdry’, meaning cheap and tacky.
Who was also the patron saint of throat complaints, because she died of a throat tumour which she considered divine punishment for her preference for wearing neck ornaments. Now, last episode, I told you I’d never made a video before so I was excited to try out Allusionist sponsor Animoto. I can confirm that making Animoto videos is really fun and, even when you’re a jetlagged idiot like I am this week, it’s extremely easy.
You just drag and drop photos and video clips, add captions and music, and that’s it! Visit Animoto.com/words to sign up for their free, 14-day trial.
When you’re ready to purchase, just use the promo code “words” to get 15% off an annual Pro subscription.
The video I made contains illustrations for this episode, so without further ado, on with the show.
HZ: They say your ability to learn new languages diminishes with age, and after about the age of 15 you’re pretty much past it, which may be why, at 35, I’m struggling to get to grips with emoji.
Despite the tutoring from History Today’s Dr Kate Wiles.Also because I’ve spent much of those 35 years trying to harness the power of the English language for communication, but maybe I backed the wrong horse.Emoji - the 'e' means picture, 'moji', letter in Japanese - seem like a very modern phenomenon, dependent on the proliferation of mobile phones.But they have precedent in language far more ancient than our own.A picture per concept is pretty much what the ancient Sumerians were using to communicate some 5,500 years ago when they came up with the cuneiform writing system.Here’s Dr Kate Wiles from History Today to explain.