All Women's Talk

7 TED Talks about Language and How We Speak That You Dont Want to Miss ...

By Michelle

TED talks about language open up a whole world of understanding to how we speak and the relationship between different languages. I find it fascinating how all languages use similar building blocks such as adjectives, nouns and verbs to communicate ideas. These TED talks about language shed some light on the phenomenon of how we speak. You definitely don’t want to miss hearing these talks!

Table of contents:

  1. Suzanne talhouk
  2. Patricia ryan
  3. Mark pagel
  4. Sandra fisher-martins
  5. Erin mckean
  6. Patricia kuhl
  7. John mcwhorter

1 Suzanne Talhouk

Suzanne Talhouk’s TED talk about language is completely in Arabic, her native language. With English subtitles, you are welcomed into the world of the Arabic language and learn the importance a language plays in culture. It’s more than power; it’s an identity. Talhouk offers valuable points about protecting your language from extinction and taking pride in it. She has some great ideas worth spreading.

2 Patricia Ryan

Patricia Ryan provides a thought-provoking TED talk about the globalization of English. I find it interesting to hear her talk about how ideas are being lost as the world begins to funnel its thoughts through English. She raises awareness of the loss of translations and how that affects our world. Check out her TED talk! It’s definitely an eye-opener.

3 Mark Pagel

Mark Pagel is pretty awesome in his TED talk. He says, “[Your language] allows you to implant a thought from your mind directly into someone else’s mind.” How revolutionary is that?! The idea of language as a communication key fascinates me as Pagel ties in how this development has strengthened our species. But don’t take my word, hear what he has to say for yourself!

4 Sandra Fisher-Martins

For laypeople, it’s difficult and nearly impossible to understand political, legal and medical jargon in today’s society. Sandra Fisher-Martins gives an inspirational talk about our need as a society to understand legal documents. We should not be made to learn complex terms but rather simplify our documents so that they are understandable to all people. It’s our right to understand.

5 Erin McKean

Erin McKean gives a funny TED talk about language. Her work as a lexicographer has given her a springboard to explore the English language. I was rather surprised by how light-hearted and fun-spirited her talk is. You might want to check out this TED talk if you think you are having a “ham-butt” problem. Or you might be curious and watch it to find out what a “ham-butt” means.

6 Patricia Kuhl

We’ve all seen the research that infants learn languages easier and more effectively than adults. You may know some five-year-olds who are already bilingual. Why is that? Patricia Kuhl studies babies from six months to a year in hopes of learning what factors contribute to language recognition in developing brains. It’s interesting and informative to see what she has to say.

7 John McWhorter

“Lol u should c this vid on txting.” John McWhorter talks about texting and how it’s actually talking like we speak and not emphasizing written grammar. He raises valid points about how words like “lol” don’t mean “laugh out loud” in today’s culture but have developed to a point that their use is almost a language in and of itself. I think you should hear what he has to offer.

TED talks are great because you can spread ideas worth sharing. What did you learn about language? What TED talks do you like?

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