TED and TEDx Talks on Learning Languages
- Jan 18, 2015
Learning languages has gained a lot of momentum in the recent years with multilingualism being favored in a number of aspects in an individual's life. But in the rat race of acing every game, we somehow, lose the charm of the many details making up this linguistic medley
With language classes taking up most of your time and the boring YouTube videos ripping apart any desire to stick to learning a new language, try a few “ideas worth spreading”. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a set of conferences run by the non-profit Sapling Foundation with this slogan. The TEDx talks are no less. The 'x' to the TED indicates a local and self-organized TED like conference where similar norms are followed as the TED talks. This is typically organized to enable the audience get a feel of the TED talks. In this article, we will look at a few TED talks on learning languages.
Chris Lonsdale, a psychologist from New York, has a very interesting theory to share in this TEDx talk. He tells us that a language can be learnt in just 6 months. And the secret to it lies in the 5 principles and seven actions required to accomplish this feat. The first step would be identify why you want to learn the language and then comes communication. He ensures that trying to understand the purpose and the overall aspects of the new language can help immensely in this new venture. And six months is a reasonable enough time to devote.
In this TED talk, Jay Walker starts with the a few crazy mania of the world including the Beatle mania, sports mania and how easily the world's English learning mania blends right in. He has come armed with evidence with an audio of Chinese students being taught English. He talks about how important learning the English language has become and how quickly it has become the second language of every individual (native language being the first). And how important the English mania has become in this world.
Mark Pagel, in this TED talk takes us back to the roots of learning a language. He talks about why human beings brought about our complex system of language and how it has helped us in the the evolution process. He suggests that language is a piece of “social technology” that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool called cooperation.
Benny Lewis is a bestselling author and globetrotter who, believe it or not, struggled with the English language and had to receive speech therapy. At age 21, armed with an engineering degree, Benny shifted to Spain and spent 6 months there without learning to speak Spanish. And then one day, he decided to put a stop to that and start learning the language. It took him just a few months to become confident in the language and learn to get by reasonably. And then there was no stopping him, he started traveling the world and learnt more than a dozen languages, speaking 8 of them fluently. He talks about his experience and urges everyone to try and learn.
MIT researcher, Deb Roy, recorded excepts of his son's speech transition from “ga-ga” to “water”. This, he recorded for a period of 6 months and then condensed it into a 40 second video clip, which he displayed in this talk. His brilliant talk on the birth of a word demonstrates what he has learned and how he is putting that knowledge to work in amazing graphic representations and tools that can describe how human beings learn and communicate.
Patricia Ryan has been living and teaching in the Gulf for over 30 years. She begins her talk with a very funny remark, “I know what you're thinking. You think I've lost my way, and somebody's going to come on the stage in a minute and guide me gently back to my seat.” In this inspiring talk, she looks into the dire situation of a language dying every 14 days. She explains the reason behind this tragedy which points to the fact that people nowadays focus more on the English language than any other language in the world. With gripping examples, she urges listeners to shift their interest to other languages as well.
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