A list of interesting TED (and TEDx) talks on language that I enjoyed watching. Lots of very interesting concepts and theories.
Deb Roy: The birth of a word
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language – so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.
Chris Londsdale: How to learn any language in six months
Chris Lonsdale is Managing Director of Chris Lonsdale & Associates, a company established to catalyse breakthrough performance for individuals and senior teams. In addition, he has also developed a unique and integrated approach to learning that gives people the means to acquire language or complex technical knowledge in short periods of time.
Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity
Biologist Mark Pagel shares an intriguing theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language. He suggests that language is a piece of “social technology” that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.
John McWorther: Txtng is killing language. JK!!
Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting – linguistically, culturally – than it seems, and it’s all good news.
Steve Pinker: What our language habits reveal
In an exclusive preview of his book The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds — and how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize.
Suzanne Talhouk: Don’t kill your language
More and more, English is a global language; speaking it is perceived as a sign of being modern. But — what do we lose when we leave behind our mother tongues? Suzanne Talhouk makes an impassioned case to love your own language, and to cherish what it can express that no other language can.
James Geary: Metaphorically speaking
Aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary waxes on a fascinating fixture of human language: the metaphor. Friend of scribes from Aristotle to Elvis, metaphor can subtly influence the decisions we make, Geary says.
Stephen Burt: Why people need poetry
We’re all going to die — and poems can help us live with that.” In a charming and funny talk, literary critic Stephen Burt takes us on a lyrical journey with some of his favorite poets, all the way down to a line break and back up to the human urge to imagine.
What are your favorite TED talks about language? Please share!