As mentioned in our last post involving the platform, YouTube can be an amazing resource when it comes to learning another language. Not only does it give you the option to watch and listen to native speakers, it does so to abundance. YouTube has become a digital media giant, with over 400 hours of video uploaded each minute, or a whopping 65 years of video a day. Around 1 billion hours of videos in 80 different languages are consumed per day.

Total YouTube statistics are honestly a bit overwhelming, so I figured we could start with some recommendations from a popular category of uploads: TED Talks. These are videos that are consistently shared, whether the viewer is looking to learn something concrete, hear someone’s individual story, or simply to be inspired. There are over 2,900 TED Talks uploaded to their site (and hosted through YouTube) with an an even larger number of independently organized TEDx events.

Thanks to YouTube’s hosting, you can even choose to watch with French or English subtitles to further your comprehension. To activate this feature, click the settings gear in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Then, click “Subtitles/ CC” and select your language from the offered list. We hope you’ll enjoy this curated selection of educational, relatable, and inspiring TED Talks en français!

Sarah Kaminsky has written a book about her father, his life, and his forgeries. In this talk, she highlights how his forgery for the French Resistance during World War II changed many lives, including his own.


Serge Mouangue speaks of his personal experience working in Japan. He was stunned to not experience culture shock when comparing his country of employment to his native Cameroon. He explores the unexpected similarities in dress, traditions, and culture. We might not be so separated as we believed.


Kenza Aloui and Inès Weill-Rochant, two women with connections to either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were friends in university before deciding to combat their shared conflict through an unexpected means.


Mentalism, hypnotism, magic. All make for flashy, fun videos to watch in our spare time. But what can we learn from these pursuits and how can it apply to our everyday lives?


Frederique Bedos is journalist and creator of Le Projet Imagine. She highlights unsung heroes from around the world, inspired by her adoptive parents who welcomed 20 children from around the world into their home and hearts. Her message can be summed up as follows: we have to dare to take risks to give miracles a space in our lives.


Laurent Jacqua was sent to prison at age 18 for murder as self-defense. Here, he remembers his time behind bars, how he felt inhuman, and how he came to be where he is today: fighting for improvement of prison conditions in general, and more particularly those fighting AIDS.


Prize-winning author Cécile Coulon compares herself to a blaireau (a badger) and questions the persistent literary idea that you need to leave home to be successful.


Math teacher and father Jean-Baptiste Huynh discusses his relationship with his son and how he was inspired to create DragonBox. As CEO and co-founder, he mixes video games and educational narration to teach algebra in as little as 42 minutes.


Despite working in computer sciences, where binarity is key, Antonin Le Mée rejects binary definitions of human sex and gender. This raises several questions, especially in a language where gender is coded into every word!


Anjuli Pandit was born in India, lived in 9 countries, and traveled to 77 total before coming to France to study at Sciences Po. She delivers a TED Talk (in French, despite growing up in America and a host of other countries) full of enthusiasm for being young, for being able to take risks, to fail and to continue on to the next thing.


Ranked 4th among the ten most revolutionary and innovative high-tech entrepreneurs and lauded by the Canadian publication Discovery Series, Bertin Nahum draws from the science fiction of the past to explain incredible robotic innovations of today. If our present is starting to feel more and more like a sci-fi novel, what will be possible to accomplish in the future?


Abnousse Shalmani was born in Tehran and grew up a child of the revolution. She remembers her struggle with the required veil in school and other gender “appropriate” behaviors while demanding to know where our modern Simone de Beauvoirs are hiding.


This is a small selection within a much larger pool. We hope these passionate discussions have taught you new and interesting vocabulary. Please share your personal favorites with us in the comments to continue the conversation!



Ingrid began her passion for French through the immersion program in Milton, MA, and has followed it around France and the world. She took a break from this first love to pursue a B.A. in English with a minor in Irish Studies at Boston College and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Simmons College. She is thrilled to meld her excitement for libraries and French language and culture in her position at the Center!

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