How to learn a new language: 7 secrets from TED Translators

Maybe now learning German and Finnish won’t be so hard… hmmm– yeah right… :/

TED Blog

Learning_a_languageBy Krystian Aparta

They say that children learn languages the best. But that doesn’t mean that adults should give up. We asked some of the polyglots in TED’s Open Translation Project to share their secrets to mastering a foreign language. Their best strategies distill into seven basic principles:

  1. Get real. Decide on a simple, attainable goal to start with so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. German translator Judith Matz suggests: “Pick up 50 words of a language and start using them on people — and then slowly start picking up grammar.”
  2. Make language-learning a lifestyle change. Elisabeth Buffard, who in her 27 years of teaching English has always seen consistency as what separates the most successful students from the rest. Find a language habit that you can follow even when you’re tired, sick or madly in love.
  3. Play house with the language. The more you invite…

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The other butterfly effect: A youth reporter finds out how monarchs fight their own parasites

Now that’s cool!

TED Blog

Biologist Jaap de Roode studies the Monarch butterfly's ability to use medicinal plants. Photo: Courtesy of Jaap de Roode Biologist Jaap de Roode studies the Monarch butterfly’s ability to use medicinal plants.

Jaap de Roode is a biologist who studies parasites and their hosts — particularly Monarch butterflies. At TEDYouth 2014, he spoke about Monarch butterflies, their self-medicating ingenuity — and what that ingenuity can help humans discover.

Lubna Batool, an 11th-grade New Yorker, was fascinated. On site at TEDYouth, with a dozen monarch butterflies flapping about in a see-through mesh cylinder, Batool got to ask de Roode a few questions. One fun fact she learned: Monarch butterflies can live in a food cooler for months, as long as they’re fed every 10 days and have an ice pack changed daily. Below, an edited transcript of their conversation.

[As Batool picks up a butterfly] How do I hold it?

Monarchs are one of the strongest butterflies we have — they fly from Canada down to Mexico, which is…

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How to take great photos—even on your cell phone

TED Blog


Taking great photos isn’t just about having a nice camera. I’m a firm believer that good photography comes from smart photographers who think creatively and know how to make the most of what they’ve got—whether they’re working with fancy DSLR or an iPhone.

On TED’s design team, where I manage TED’s Instagram account, we’re always on the lookout for beautiful, arresting images. Below are 8 non-technical, non-intimidating tips that I continue to refer to even after years of taking pictures.

  1. Keep your lens clean and your battery charged. Yes, both of these things are obvious, but they’re also very easy to forget. With my camera, I like to keep at least one extra fully-charged battery on hand, and I always keep my phone charger with me because it’s such a bummer when you want to take a photo but can’t. Phones can get especially dirty from riding around in…

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Writing Skills Resource

I found this blog post called, The 7Cs of Communication for Writing Brilliant Blog Posts.   Key areas that this blog addressed were:  Completeness, Conciseness, Consideration, Clarity, Courtesy, Concreteness, and Correctness.  This was a really useful and helpful blog in that it gives you seven key points to watch for when writing blog posts.  However I have found that these tips work for many different forms of writing.  This can work for speeches you need to write, a conference call you would like to rehearse and go over before jumping on the phone with your boss, or a dreaded class presentation.  😉



It cuts out a lot of nonsense, essentially making your writing experience foolproof.  Sometimes when you are reading a book about writing effectively there are so many unnecessary fillers that it can leave you feeling lost to the actual message.  On top of that, many books can become quite complicated and that too can leave you feeling like you’re just not up to par with your writing skills, or worse, can leave you feeling that you are, or have done an unsatisfactory job when all that was really needed was a simple, easy to follow outline.

The blogger Marya points out that keeping it simple really is the best form of blogging.  Blogs should be short and to the point without boring the reader into oblivion.  Luckily with this course there are so many different personalities and people from different walks of life, that I don’t think I’ve read a boring blog yet!  They are all so unique!


I for one intend to use this a my guide for all future blog posts and for more formal writing.  I think this is a good way to not only keep my writing skills up but to really make me focus on my message and how it appears to the reader.  Is it clear, to the point, and am I being thoughtful and using correct form?

I think this blog post would be really helpful to newbies of the blogging world and to students in general as it is uncomplicated and easy to understand.  I find, and I am sure I am not the only one, that no matter what a professor asks for you may still be unclear about how to go about writing something or perhaps your focus may be too scattered or too vague.

A blog such as this I believe, can really be quite helpful in a course such as this one, as it is takes away a lot of uncertainty and gives you simple key steps on how to write effective blogs.

Now… about that presentation…

photo credit: <a href=””></a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>gcoldironjr2003</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Will Lion</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Writing and Blogging 101 start next week!

The Daily Post

Ready to commit to your blogging or writing, but wish you had a little support? Look no further: registration is open for the next rounds of Blogging 101 and Writing 101. Both courses start Monday, September 15:

Note: These are the same challenges we ran earlier in the year, offered again so new bloggers can give them a try. For those looking for something new, more 201-level writing and blogging challenges are coming over the next few months.

Blogging 101: Zero to Hero

I was thinking today that I would have probably already given up on this blogging thing if it hadn’t been for 101!
— The Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P

Blogging 101 is a month of bite-size blogging assignments to help you create a blog you’re excited to publish — and that others are excited to read. Here’s how it works:

  • Assignments focus on publishing posts, customizing your blog…

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To find those skills which help us grow, in life and as a professional.