As Wittgenstein wrote, "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." Watch talks by linguists, data analysts and word nerds who explore the all-encompassing power of language.
Curated by TED
11 talks (Curated by TED)
What is jealousy? What drives it, and why do we secretly love it? No study has ever been able to capture its “loneliness, longevity, grim thrill” -- that is, says Parul Sehgal, except for fiction. In an eloquent meditation she scours pages from literature to show how jealousy is not so different from a quest for knowledge.
TEDSalon NY2013, Filmed Jul 2013, Posted Oct 2013
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.
TEDGlobal 2005, Filmed Jul 2005, Posted Sep 2007
Have you played with Google Labs' Ngram Viewer? It's an addicting tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words. (Filmed at TEDxBoston.)
TEDxBoston 2011, Filmed Jul 2011, Posted Sep 2011
After re-purposing CAPTCHA so each human-typed response helps digitize books, Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good. In this talk, he shares how his ambitious new project, Duolingo, will help millions learn a new language while translating the Web quickly and accurately -- all for free. (Filmed at TEDxCMU.)
TEDxCMU, Filmed Apr 2011, Posted Dec 2011
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.
TEDGlobal 2011, Filmed Jul 2011, Posted Aug 2011
Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation.
TED2007, Filmed Mar 2007, Posted Aug 2007
Tax forms, credit agreements, healthcare legislation: They're crammed with gobbledygook, says Alan Siegel, and incomprehensibly long. He calls for a simple, sensible redesign -- and plain English -- to make legal paperwork intelligible to the rest of us.
TED2010, Filmed Feb 2010, Posted Mar 2010
With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.
TED2003, Filmed Feb 2003, Posted Jan 2007
In her talk, longtime English teacher Patricia Ryan asks a provocative question: Is the world's focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? (For instance: what if Einstein had to pass the TOEFL?) It's a passionate defense of translating and sharing ideas. (Filmed at TEDxDubai.)
TEDxDubai, Filmed Dec 2010, Posted Mar 2011
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