Before answering your question about how to learn English with Ted Talks, I want you to first answer the following question: Have you heard that watching movies, TV series, and videos in English regularly can help you learn and improve your English? Well, everything you have heard is true, but to see consistent results it is not enough just to hit the “play” button and relax. All of these resources must be used for their purpose. So keep reading and discover how to learn English with Ted Talks.
What are TED Talks?
The TED talks for those who do not know them yet, are talks where entrepreneurs, thinkers, and other characters from around the world are invited to offer their point of view, advice, experiences, ideas that help us understand better the reality that surrounds us and that serve as inspiration and motivation to create own ideas.
At TED Talks we can find many of the world’s most renowned thinkers, including Bill Gates, Simon Sinek, Ashley Judd, Richard Branson, and Isabel Allende, along with some Nobel Prize winners.
Although the main purpose of these presentations is to inform, educate and open our eyes to new ideas, many of the presenters are very creative when it comes to transmitting their ideas, so entertainment is generally guaranteed along with the plus of learning something new.
Besides, the videos come with transcripts in different languages, including the ones that interest us the most, which is English, which will allow you to read what you have heard in either of the two languages depending on what you need when practicing.
Next, I explain how you can use TED Talks to improve your English at home, and if you are more interested in series, movies, or any other type of video, don’t worry, keep reading that the idea is the same regardless of the type of video you see.
How to use TED Talks to learn and practice English at home?
With the large number of videos offered by the TED platform, you are sure to find something of interest that will offer you an attractive context so that you can improve your English independently. Not only will you be able to practice listening to English videos, which is obvious, but by following my advice you will be able to improve your English vocabulary, English grammar, practice English pronunciation, and even English writing.
Here we have some tips to help you to learn English with Ted Talks:
- Listening – the fundamental part is “active listening”. For example, try to make a prediction of what the speaker is going to talk about, or even try to imagine what the next point of his talk will be. You can stop the playback as many times as necessary and listen to it again.
- Pronunciation – you can identify the phrases that are most difficult for you to repeat, and practice them as necessary. Also, with the help of subtitles (if you put them in English) you will appreciate the differences between written and oral.
- Grammar – by listening to the speakers speak live to an audience, you will be able to learn and practice verb tenses, think about the grammatical constructions they make, and even learn new phrases that are incorporated regularly in colloquial language.
- Vocabulary – surely there are many words that you do not know during the talks, but being in the middle of a context, it will be easier for you to understand their meaning. Also, remember that you have the help of transcripts!
Next, we will recommend some TED talks focused on language learning, with which you will learn techniques to accelerate your English while you practice it. Two birds with one stone!
Fluent in Three Months – Benny Lewis:
Benny Lewis struggled throughout his childhood and youth with languages to the point of needing speech therapy. At the age of 21 and after finishing his university studies in engineering, Benny moved to Spain, to end up living in a bubble that never allowed him to learn a bit of Spanish.
Everything changed the day Benny decided to try to speak despite having no knowledge, no excuses. After only a couple of months, he already felt confident to handle Spanish, and a little later he even achieved an advanced level. Since then he has been traveling and learning languages for years, with the current ability to speak 8 languages fluently. In his TED X Talk, he will tell you his story in more detail and show you some of his secrets to learning so fast.
Smash fear, learn anything – Tim Ferriss
Breaking the language barrier – Tim Doner
The motivating story of the young polyglot who learned new languages as a child and can now speak more than 20 languages. His interest really started at the age of 13, after a few years of studies in French and Latin. As he describes it, his goal is not to reach a level of fluency in each of the languages he speaks, but rather to focus more on the possibility of learning the history and culture of different peoples through their languages. A great example of how to direct the motivation of learning another language on a specific interest.
Erin McKean: Go Ahead, Make Up New Words!
What we learned from 5 million books – Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel
Stephen Burt: Why people need poetry
Listen to Stephen’s talk and read some of his favorite poems to learn more about rhyme, intonation, stress, etc.
After listening to these stories, we are sure that you have new ideas on how to approach your adventure of learning English.
I hope these tips help you improve your level of English and become a fan of TED Talks like me!
Until the next post!