One of the most frustrating challenges I have encountered throughout my diverse career in education, government, startups, consulting, and nutrition is the widespread use of clunky, confusing language. In many ways, learning the ins and outs of Academese, Bureaucratese, Corporatese, Legalese, and Medicalese have proven much more frustrating than Japanese and Chinese! In this great talk by Steven Pinker, an academic who refreshingly avoids most Academese, he makes a case for using “Classic Prose” to communicate more clearly in the 21st Century.
On August 28, 1963, The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., an American activist, humanitarian, and pastor gave what would become one of the most famous speeches of all time and a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. The masterful address, usually known simply as “I Have a Dream”, was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in front hundreds of thousands of people who had joined the “March on Washington”. If you haven’t watched the speech in a while, please take a moment now to relive a bit of history and honor King’s memory. And for extra points, read the speech in 12 different languages.
Benny Lewis, the Irish Polyglot, and Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef, discuss language myths, and how to learn languages quickly using the 80/20 rule.
In his excellent TEDxRanier talk, Chris Bliss posits that “Every act of communication is an act of translation” and that great comedy can “translate deep truths for a mass audience”. I couldn’t agree more.
Check out this beautifully illustrated talk about how to learn foreign languages using the Pimsleur approach. No, I don’t believe you can learn a language in 10 days, but you can certainly get started in one, and Pimsleur is a good way to help get your brain and tongue used to a new language.
In the video, Harvard’s Steven Pinker discusses the great mysteries of language and human nature, backed up by the amazing whiteboard illustration of RSA Animate.