“Words over time have a way of just oozing around,” says linguist John McWhorter. He traces the evolution of five words that have spent millennia drifting from one meaning into another.

What’s it like to have a song inside your head, itching to get out? A neuroscientist and a songwriter compare notes from the frontier of music and science.

Novelist Young-Ha Kim shares his secret for creative success: stop being reasonable and let your freak flag fly.

Writer Suzanne Talhouk on why speaking your mother tongue is about more than mere communication.

History professor Yuval Noah Harari, author of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind,” explains why humans have dominated Earth. The reason’s not what you might expect.

Illustration by Dawn Kim/TED | ideas.ted.com

Timothy Doner started teaching himself to speak in other languages when he was 13, and was quickly hailed as a prodigy for his linguistic proficiency. But as he soon realized, there’s more to fluency than being able to barter over kebabs in Arabic or order from a menu in Hindi.

Professional aphorist and all round word nerd James Geary shares his list of must-read books from authors covering literary life, proverbs, aphorisms, and the art of being quoted.