5 Fascinating TED Talks in Italian for Language Skills (and New Knowledge!)
Hello, everybody. Welcome!
In today’s TED Talk, I want to let everyone in on a secret.
A secret to understanding Italian with less effort.
A secret to growing your vocabulary more easily and more efficiently.
In fact, you’re already in on the secret just by listening to me now: You can master Italian through TED Talks!
You may already have watched tons of TED Talks in your own native language. They’re educational videos where experts discuss… well, pretty much any topic you can think of.
By listening to TED Talks in Italian, you get a hefty dose of knowledge and entertainment while kicking your language skills up to the next level. In this post, we’ll show you five great talks to start off with, covering everything from the evolution of the Italian language to guidance on living longer.
So let’s get learning!
How to Use TED Talks to Learn Italian
“TED Talks?” you ask.
I bet you thought they were only good for sharing big ideas and changing the way we live our daily lives. You know, just small stuff like that.
Nope, they even have intrinsic language-learning value as well! Think about this:
- TED Talks are perfect to practice listening skills. Because the audio is recorded professionally, the words are often clear and understandable, even if the language is a little elevated.
- TED Talks can be used to find specific vocabulary on a subject area where you need to grow. For example, you can find TED Talks about science, technology, the economy and many more subjects.
Just pick a topic that’s important or interesting to you and you’ll hear crucial terms throughout the course of the talk.
- TED Talks are also often delivered in formal Italian, so they’re perfect for learning Italian conventions—especially if you’re just emerging from the beginner level and want to embark on intermediate Italian material.
To get the most out of a TED Talk, I suggest finding one with subtitles in Italian. Lucky for us, many TED Talks on YouTube have subtitles in both Italian and English, but not all of them do. Italian subtitles are recommended to get listening, reading and vocabulary practice all at once.
Note to learner: Many TED Talks also come with accompanying materials to find out more. These materials include transcripts in both Italian and English, as well as presentation notes and reading materials for gathering more information about the TED Talk topic.
If you enjoy this type of learning, you can take it up a notch with FluentU—another great source for authentic, entertaining Italian videos that come supercharged with interactive subtitles.
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’ve learned to recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know.
Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free!
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
Talking with TED: The Top 5 TED Talks in Italian for Language Mastery
Check out the top five TED Talks in Italian and master Italian today!
Dal “Bello” al “Biùtiful:” che succede alla lingua italiana (From “Bello” to “Biùtiful:” What Is Happening to Our Italian Language?)
Our first TED Talk is brought to us by Annamaria Testa, who’s a communication consultant. Her TED Talk is particularly interesting because it looks at the evolution happening in the Italian language. Namely, the incorporation of English words to create Itanglese (an Italian/English mix).
As language learners, we’re all too familiar with one language influencing another, so this is a fun, lighthearted and relatable video to get introduced to TED Talks in Italian.
The language level should be comfortable for intermediate learners. It’s delivered at a slower pace and includes some English words. Outside of that, the subject matter is pretty familiar and it’s perfect for those who want to learn some informal Italian (Hint: A lot of English words are used as slang in modern Italian).
Best of all, there are subtitles in Italian and English for this TED Talk and there are accompanying slides to help learners follow along.
Mangiare molto poco per vivere molto a lungo (Eat Very Little to Live Very Long)
This talk examines longevity, age and aging, a subject that presenter Valter Longo has studied at the University of Southern California in the U.S.
The interesting thing about this subject is that, unlike other propositions for longevity such as a exercising regularly or cutting cigarettes and alcohol, Longo suggests that longevity is easy: Eat less, and eat mostly fruits and vegetables.
In addition to being interesting (and perhaps extending your lifespan!), this TED Talk is great for learning vocabulary about food, diet and health.
Further, this talk is perfect for intermediate learners, but it’s a little more advanced than our previous TED Talk. Most of the challenge comes from the fact that there are no subtitles in English or Italian, but fear not: Longo speaks at a slower pace, so it’s perfect for you to get used to natural spoken Italian.
Riorganizzato e felice (Reorganized and Happy)
With a focus on industrial design, Valentina Auricchio has a lot to say about the relationship between organization and happiness.
Primarily, she suggests that the way we organize our space (and ultimately our lives) can actually make us happier. In addition, Auricchio suggests that we should allow ourselves to be untethered from our work and our obligations at times so that we can reflect and think about things in a different way.
I don’t know about you, but it sounds like she’s suggesting we should up and travel to some awesome destination, somewhere like, oh, I don’t know, maybe Italy!
But I digress.
I definitely recommend this TED Talk for upper-intermediate learners. It has some specialized vocabulary about design as well as vocabulary related to fashion and lifestyle. In that way, it’s perfect for upper-intermediate speakers who want to learn more about those topics or even study design in Italy (how cool!).
There are subtitles in Italian for this TED Talk, but none in English.
Conoscere per amare — conservare per conservar-ci (Knowing for Loving — Conserving for Conserving Ourselves)
This TED Talk discusses curiosity, knowledge and the role of technology in scientific advancements.
The talk also discusses our role in this balance. The premise is that if we as human beings take too much advantage of nature and don’t focus on sustainability, we’ll ultimately lose.
Because of the specialized nature of this TED Talk, I think it’s probably best for upper-intermediate learners. There are Italian subtitles, and those are definitely helpful, but no English subtitles.
This one is also perfect for learners who are interested in acquiring vocabulary related to science. If you’re considering studying in an Italian environment, you might also be interested. This talk is great for practicing Italian lecture skills.
Because, you know, maybe you can cure your wanderlust from Valentina Auricchio’s TED Talk by studying in Italy!
5 lezioni per avere successo nel lavoro (5 Lessons for Having Success in Work)
The last TED Talk on our list discusses the five most important things Annalisa Monfreda has learned about being successful in her work as a journalist. While it might seem like this advice is specific only to journalists and journalists-in-training, it’s actually eye opening and practical for everyday life.
This TED Talk is also the most difficult on the list. In fact, it’s a healthy challenge for upper-intermediate/advanced Italian learners: Monfreda speaks quickly and there are no official Italian or English subtitles.
If you’re a not-so-advanced learner and you still want to watch, you can slow down the audio using the gear icon at the bottom righthand corner of the player.
There’s good news, however: The slideshow outlines Monfreda’s top five lessons, and if you succeed with this TED Talk, it’s great for not only learning professional and at-work vocabulary but also for getting used to the quick pace of spoken Italian.
And that, my friends, is how you can use TED Talks to become an Italian-language master! Thank you for reading, and I implore you to get watching today!