Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | May 1, 2015

TED Talks for Language Enthusiasts

TED Talks for Language Enthusiasts

Elizabeth Blood


TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) began as an annual conference sponsored by the nonprofit Sapling Foundation and has evolved into a series of free online videos on a wide range of “ideas worth spreading” ( The talks, usually 18 minutes or shorter, are provocative, informative and inspirational. If you are a language major or minor, or if you are just interested in how people communicate across language barriers, check out the following TED talks on languages and cultures:

Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices

This talk weaves together the topics of language, culture and technology. Zuckerman asks why, in a world so interconnected by technology, we still end up connecting primarily with people who are just like us? His answer will inspire you to expand your horizons online.

Patricia Ryan: Don’t insist on English

In this talk, Ryan challenges the concept that English is or should be the primary global language and makes a passionate call for learning foreign languages and engaging in translation, arguing that great ideas can emerge from all corners of the globe. Would we have made the progress we have if Einstein had to pass a TOEFL exam before publishing his work?

Tim Ferriss: Smash fear, learn anything

Ferriss’ greatest fears included learning to swim, to speak a foreign language and learning to dance. In this talk, he explains how he smashed his fear and created an effective way to become an expert in these areas. (He now speaks multiple languages!)

Suzanne Talhouk: Don’t kill your language

Can you express yourself as well in a second language as you can in your native language? Filmed in Arabic in Beirut, this subtitled talk also deals with the global dominance of English and calls for people to maintain their mother tongues.


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