‘How to buy happiness’ (another Ted Talk)

by ucclangcent

Arwa, from Saudi Arabia, gives her review of another great Ted Talk and how she feels it has helped her to improve her English. 

When I had free-time, I visited TED to practise my listening skills. A headline which caught my eye, and grabbed my attention as well was ‘How to Buy Happiness’.

Watching ‘How to Buy Happiness’ by Michael Norton has benefited me a lot. It has influenced me both spiritually and intellectually.

Focusing on the intellectual benefit, it has helped improve my English; I have learned new collocations, word chunks and vocabulary as well.

To begin with collocations, I was introduced to two collocations while watching the video, one of which is ‘resonate with’, which I later searched for the meaning and found that it meant: to correspond closely or harmoniously. For example: ‘Symbolism matters, especially if the symbols resonate with the larger message’ (William Greider). It can also mean ‘to evoke’, as in the example ‘The words resonate with so many different meanings’. The other collocation is ‘slip of paper’ which somewhat is close to the meaning of ‘a piece of paper’. Yet, ‘slip of paper’ seems to be used when it is in an envelope.

Moving on to word chunks, Michael Norton said: ‘So instead of being antisocial with your money, what if you were a little more pro-social with your money?’ This sentence aroused my attention and helped me observe how to use the two antonyms together in the same sentence to attract the reader or listener’s attention and introduce a different idea as well. So, the chunk that I will always remember is: ‘Instead of being……, what if …(antonym)…?’

Moreover, the vocabulary that I learned is donation, which means to volunteer giving a present, usually money to a charity; and infiltrate, which means to be part of an organization or group of people.

Finally, I find TED a very useful website that can boost your English language rapidly. That is, you can see the transcript and observe how the speaker moves from a sentence to another and how he varies in styles according to what he wants to emphasize.

This talk has really affected me. I highly recommend watching the video.