In recent years TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design) have become incredibly popular. Simply put, a TED talk is a video presentation given by experts in a variety of fields as a way of sharing knowledge and increasing understanding of the world. These talks tend to be engaging, interesting and informative. For this reason, many language learners use TED talks to improve their language skills. It helps not only listening skills, but also grammar skills, vocabulary and so much more. In this article, we’ve put together a list of five TED talks in French to help you improve your language skills.
- Un polyglotte sommeille en vous (The multilingual in you)
- Vos oreilles sont racistes (Your ears are racist)
- La faute de l’orthographe (The mistake of spelling)
- Négociation: ne cherchez pas le compromis (Negotiation: don’t compromise)
- Comment sauver l’amour ? (Love – you’re doing it wrong)
1. Un polyglotte sommeille en vous (The multilingual in you)
Topic: Languages and being multilingual
Speaker: Sébastian Roger de Nuñez
Why it’s great for French learners: If you’re learning French, then you understand the trials and tribulations of learning a language. It’s much easier to understand a language when discussing a topic you already know something about. That is why we’ve chosen this TED talk in French all about being a polyglot. The speaker Sébastian begins with how we learn language as children, mentioning regions such as Alsace where learning two languages is normal. He then moves on to the reasons we learn languages, ways in which we can learn them, as well as the relationship between certain languages. The topic of the talk is very interesting if you’re learning a language and Sébastian speaks at a nice pace with a fairly neutral accent. Plus, he himself speaks 11 languages, so he’s a great source of inspiration. This talk was given at a TED event in Toulouse, France.
2. Vos oreilles sont racistes (Your ears are racist)
Topic: Accents and dialects
Speaker: Cécilia Pellet-Many
Why it’s great for French learners: This French TED talk is better for intermediate to advanced learners because Cécila speaks quickly and she demonstrates different accents, which adds an extra challenge. The topic itself is fascinating, as Cécilia discusses how a person’s accent can affect how other people see them, hence making their ears “racist”. For French language learners, this is a brilliant talk to listen to because we all know how hard French pronunciation can be! Cécilia presents the topic in an engaging, funny and lively manner, making it a great one to watch.
3. La faute de l’orthographe (The mistake of spelling)
Topic: Spelling in French
Speaker: Arnaud Hoedt and Jérôme Piron
Why it’s great for French learners: Spelling in French scares most language learners but it doesn’t have to be that complicated, according to the two Belgian teachers in this French TED talk. They met while working together in the same school in Belgium (although this TED talk is given in Rennes, France) and through their experiences, they realized that spelling in French is a tool and part of a language, which led to the real question…is it a good tool? In order to answer this question, the pair wrote a book, titled the same as this TED talk. In the talk, they go over why spelling in French is over-complicated – this funny talk is very relatable for French learners, and the pair use lots of visuals to demonstrate their points, making it easy to follow.
4. Négociation: ne cherchez pas le compromis (Negotiation: don’t compromise)
Topic: Negotiation techniques
Speaker: Julien Pelabere
Why it’s great for French learners: Julien Pelabere is a professional negotiator, he teaches at the top schools in France and has founded an institute for negotiation. Thanks to this wealth of experience, his presentation skills are flawless, making him a great speaker for French learners to listen to. This TED talk in French is like negotiation for dummies – he explains what negotiation is, why compromise should be off the table and three ways to help you better negotiate without compromising. The structure of the talk is very clear and he uses lots of examples to demonstrate his points, which will help reinforce your understanding of what he’s talking about.
5. Comment sauver l’amour ? (Love – you’re doing it wrong)
Topic: Love and connection in the digital age
Speaker: Yann Dall’Aglio
Why it’s great for French learners: Yann Dall’Aglio is a French philosopher but don’t let that put you off. He expresses his thoughts and points very simply and clearly. In this Ted talk given in the French language, he ponders over how love can exist in today’s world that is more focused on the individual and narcissism. The language he uses is simple and easy to understand – it’s a delightful French TED talk to listen to and improve your skills. This TED talk may have been given years ago (2012) in France, but it will always be a great tool for French learners.
All talk and no action
We hope this list of TED talks in French has inspired you to improve your French language skills. And who knows, perhaps after you’ve listened to a few you might want to try writing your own mini TED talk in French!
Clara Avrillier is a writer, linguist and content manager living in the South of France. She loves getting out in nature, doing sport, reading and playing music. She also works with expats looking to move to France. Connect with her on LinkedIn.