Linguistics

How language shapes the way we think

There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the language is

4 Reasons to Learn a New Language

English is fast becoming the world's universal language, and instant translation technology is improving every year. So why bother learning a foreign language? Linguist and Columbia professor John McWhorter shares four alluring benefits of learning an unfamiliar tongue

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

Go ahead, make up new words!

In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Erin McKean encourages — nay, cheerleads — her audience to create new words when the existing ones won’t quite do. She lists out 6 ways to make new words in English, from compounding to “verbing,” in order to make the language better at expressing what we mean and to create more ways for us to understand one another.

TEC13 Day 01: Dr B Kumaravadivelu - Keynote Address

Prof Dr B Kumaravadivelu from the Department of Linguistics Language Development, San Jose State University, USA, speaks on facing challenges and forging connections through a modular framework for English language teacher education, which consists of five interconnected modules: KARDS -- Knowing, Analysing, Recognizing, Doing and Seeing.

American English is Changing Fast - Prof Labov

William Labov, Professor of Linguistics at University of Pennsylvania and author of Dialect Diversity in America, joins David to discuss the various and changing dialects and accents spoken in American English, and the political and economic factors in those dialects.