7 Inspiring TED Talks to Help You Boost Your Spanish

Looking for some inspiration in your Spanish learning journey? What about 7 inspiring TED Talks to boost your Spanish?

When it comes to learning a new language, motivation is essential – but getting inspiration and finding the right methods can be difficult. In this blog post, discover 7 inspiring TED Talks to boost your Spanish: from getting unique ideas to becoming a better learner, these Talks will help you become a more confident Spanish speaker.

1. Chris Lonsdale How to Learn Any Language in Six Months 

“Talent doesn’t matter.”

You might not know who Chris Lonsdale is, but his TED Talk has over 23 million views. He’s a psychologist, linguist, and entrepreneur from New Zealand and the author of the book The Third Ear.

Lonsdale is one of the advocates of using your target language, aka Spanish, from day 1. Most importantly, he truly believes you can reach fluency in any language in six months, no matter how talented you are.

“Use your language as a tool to communicate right from day one.”

How can you learn Spanish fast? This is a question on most learners’ minds. Pretty much every beginner dreams of speaking Spanish fluently after a few months – expressing themselves confidently and understanding 100% of what natives say. But achieving fluency without some level of commitment is very difficult, almost impossible.

The best place to start is to be happy, relaxed, and curious; listen a lot so that your ears get used to the Spanish sounds and focus on the core, i.e., the 3000 most commonly used words. And that, and many more other things is what Chris Lonsdale attempts to explain in his TED Talk.

2. Sid Efromovich 5 Techniques to Speak Any Language

“Enjoyable, fun, exciting.”

Sid Efromovich grew up in Brazil, lives in New York, and works as a Sugar Trader. But his Ted Talk, though, is about a completely different topic: learning foreign languages.

Being raised as a polyglot, he could already speak four languages by the age of eighteen. Then he learned three more. “Enjoyable, fun, exciting.” That’s the way he describes his language acquisition process. Do you want to know why? Great, because that’s what his Ted Talk is all about.

How to make the language learning process easier? According to Sid Efromovich, it’s about five techniques. Which ones? The first one, making mistakes – unless you’re willing to get things wrong, you can’t possibly learn a language.

“The golden rule of language learning (…) is to get things wrong.”

Another technique he mentions is to have someone who doesn’t let you get away with the mistakes: “a stickler,” as he calls it. This person can be your teacher, your tutor, or your friend. The goal is to have someone who feels comfortable correcting you and, at the same time, encourages you to learn.

As Spanish tutors, we couldn’t agree more with him on how powerful getting feedback is to get you on the right path. The point is not to make mistakes per se, but to make mistakes so that you can learn.

And for the rest of the insights and techniques, we recommend watching the Ted Talk; it’s worth the time.

3. Marianna Pascal Learning a Language? Speak It Like You’re Playing a Video Game 

“When you speak, don’t focus on yourself.”

Embarrassment, shyness, and a feeling of being judged are emotions that most people go through at some point. This is especially true when speaking a foreign language. As a person who’s been helping Asian students speak better English for more than twenty years, Marianna Pascal seems to know a lot about these issues.

What do you need to speak a language well? It turns out that, among the few elements that help you speak a language well, the most important one is, quite simply, attitude. Because if you feel insecure, your brain shuts down; you don’t listen to what the other person is saying, you can’t find the words to express yourself clearly, and worst, you’re seen as a person that is not capable of doing the job.

Speaking another language with confidence seems very difficult, but it’s not impossible. A good starting point is to understand that a language is a “tool to play with, not an art to master.” And that’s what Marianna Pascal tells us in her TED Talk.

“It’s not an art to be mastered; it’s just a tool to use to get a result.”

This is a precious lesson for anyone attempting to speak another language fluently; if you forget about correctness and grammar, if you relax and focus on getting the result you want to achieve, then you are doing great.

4. Tim Doner Breaking the Language Barrier 

“Knowing a language is a lot more than knowing a couple of words out of a dictionary.”

Imagine for a minute that you have to pick up the basics of Spanish all on your own. You then decide to listen to a lot of Spanish music, memorize lyrics, spit them back out, and try to chat with native speakers once a week. Suddenly you start to understand the language more and more. That’s exactly what Tim Doner did with Hebrew at the age of 13.

Whenever we think of speaking a foreign language, we believe it is all about correctness and perfection. People claiming to be bilingual or polyglots sound like native speakers, speak articulately and know everything about the grammar. It turns out that’s probably not true.

“There’s so much language can tell you about one culture’s mindset.”

Without being arrogant, stiff, or humorless, Tim Doner tells us how he studied twenty languages for the fun of it. Quoting Nelson Mandela, he also explains why: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” 

Tim Doner has a YouTube channel called Polyglot Pal, where you can watch his language videos.

5. Lýdia Machová The Secrets of Learning a New Language 

“I like to learn a new language every two years.”

Can you imagine studying a new language every two years? That’s precisely what interpreter and language mentor Lýdia Machová does. How does she do that? The answer is simple: Finding ways to enjoy the language-learning process.

Whether it’s reading Harry Potter in Spanish or using Duolingo, you need to use your own ways of having fun while learning the language. Experiment. Think about the things you do to learn Spanish. Are they fun? If the answer is “yes,” you’re on the right path. 

“The important thing is to create a plan in the learning.”

Is that all? Not really. Lýdia Machová states that, although enjoyment is essential, you also need effective methods and systems. And, of course, patience.

You can get to know more about Lýdia’s methods on her website, language mentoring.

6. Matthew Youlden How to Learn Any Language Easily

“I’m convinced that learning languages, any language per se, is actually easy.”

The vast majority of us often struggle at some moment when acquiring a new language. However, linguist, polyglot, and lecturer Matthew Youlden is convinced that learning a second language is easy. In his Ted Talk, he wants to show you how.

First of all, you need to debunk some myths about learning a language; it’s too difficult, I’m too old, and I don’t need to learn another language are some of them. Secondly, Matthew Youlden gives us five shortcuts and three rules that have helped him speak 20 languages, around half of them fluently. 

“Live the language, speak it, read it, write it, dream in it, singing even, sing to yourself.”

If you put your mind to it, you can learn any language. But remember: “Perfection isn’t the goal. The goal, however, is to get as good as we possibly can in a particular language, in the shortest time possible”.

7. Marc Green How to Talk Like a Native Speaker 

“Being bilingual (…) gave me two identities and the ability to switch between them.”

And the last of the 7 inspiring TED Talks to boost your Spanish goes for those who aspire to master the language.

For many people, becoming fluent in a foreign language is enough. For Marc Green, however, reaching a native level of a language is worth the effort.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could develop another identity by speaking Spanish? That would entail reaching a native level of the language. In other words, that would require you to pronounce, internalize cultural traits, and adopt the same colloquial expressions native speakers do. 

“When you are a native speaker, you feel at home among native speakers.”

Although speaking Spanish like a native may seem an impossible task, it’s doable. According to Green, you should fully immerse yourself in the culture and interact with natives as much as possible. 

Get Insight and Keep Learning

Which one of the 7 inspiring TED Talks to boost your Spanish do you like the most?

As you continue your journey to fluency, take inspiration from these TED Talks to help you develop better learning strategies, be more motivated, and in turn, become a more confident Spanish speaker.