playlist

Great TED Talks for language practice

Learning another language? A collection of TED Talks to indulge in your linguistic desires. (Pro tip: Select subtitles in your preferred language to read along, too.)

  1. 13:25
    Gastón Acurio Can home cooking change the world?

    When Gastón Acurio started his now world-famous restaurant Astrid & Gastón in the 1990s, no one suspected that he would elevate the Peruvian home-cooking he grew up with to haute cuisine. Nearly thirty years and a storied career later, the chef wants the rest of us to embrace our culinary roots and transform the world with the meals we prepare each day. (In Spanish with English subtitles)

  2. 3:27
    Matt Cutts Try something new for 30 days

    Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

  3. 15:17
    Christine Sun Kim The enchanting music of sign language

    Artist and TED Fellow Christine Sun Kim was born deaf, and she was taught to believe that sound wasn't a part of her life, that it was a hearing person's thing. Through her art, she discovered similarities between American Sign Language and music, and she realized that sound doesn't have to be known solely through the ears — it can be felt, seen and experienced as an idea. In this endearing talk, she invites us to open our eyes and ears and participate in the rich treasure of visual language.

  4. 18:06
    Thomas Hellum The world's most boring television ... and why it's hilariously addictive

    You've heard about slow food. Now here's slow ... TV? In this very funny talk, Norwegian television producer Thomas Hellum shares how he and his team began to broadcast long, boring events, often live — and found a rapt audience. Shows include a 7-hour train journey, an 18-hour fishing expedition and a 5.5-day ferry voyage along the coast of Norway. The results are both beautiful and fascinating. Really.

  5. 5:39
    eL Seed Street art with a message of hope and peace

    What does this gorgeous street art say? It's Arabic poetry, inspired by bold graffiti and placed where a message of hope and peace can do the most good. In this quietly passionate talk, artist and TED Fellow eL Seed describes his ambition: to create art so beautiful it needs no translation.

  6. 10:05
    Pico Iyer The beauty of what we'll never know

    Almost 30 years ago, Pico Iyer took a trip to Japan, fell in love with the country and moved there. A keen observer of the human spirit, Iyer professes that he now feels he knows far less about Japan — or, indeed, about anything — than he thought he knew three decades ago. In this lyrical meditation on wisdom, Iyer expands on this curious insight about knowledge gained with age: that the more we know, the more we see how little we know.

  7. 17:51
    Shah Rukh Khan Thoughts on humanity, fame and love

    "I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people," says Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood's biggest star. In this charming, funny talk, Khan traces the arc of his life, showcases a few of his famous dance moves and shares hard-earned wisdom from a life spent in the spotlight.

  8. 17:52
    His Holiness Pope Francis Why the only future worth building includes everyone

    A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don't, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. "Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the 'other' is not a statistic, or a number," he says. "We all need each other."

  9. 6:10
    ShaoLan Learn to read Chinese ... with ease!

    For foreigners, learning to speak Chinese is a hard task. But learning to read the beautiful, often complex characters of the Chinese written language may be less difficult. ShaoLan walks through a simple lesson in recognizing the ideas behind the characters and their meaning — building from a few simple forms to more complex concepts. Call it Chineasy.

  10. 12:38
    Monica Byrne A sci-fi vision of love from a 318-year-old hologram

    Science fiction writer Monica Byrne imagines rich worlds populated with characters who defy our racial, social and gender stereotypes. In this performance, Byrne appears as a hologram named Pilar, transmitting a story of love and loss back to us from a near future when humans have colonized the universe. "It's always funny what you think the future is going to be like versus what it turns out to be," she says.

  11. 7:50
    Julian Treasure 5 ways to listen better

    In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening." In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you.