In the News: Could We One Day Learn A Language By Popping A Pill?


(that’s “How are you?” in Thai).

Recently, the Huffington Post had an article on Nicholas Negroponte’s idea that one day, in the future, we could learn a language by taking a pill. How amazing is that?

Keep reading to find out more about this curious idea. Follow the steps below and remember, the words in bold mean that you can find their dictionary definition in the “Vocabulary” section.

1. Read the news
2. Understand the vocabulary
3. Give us your opinion!


The idea may sound like a sci-fi movie plot point, but one well-known tech visionary believes we could one day learn a language simply by swallowing a pill.

In a recent video podcast for TedTalks, MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte revisits some of the tech-related predictions he’s made over the past three decades. In the final minute of his talk, Negroponte addresses what may be his most intriguing prediction yet. Check it out above.

“We have been doing a lot of consuming of information through our eyes. That may be a very inefficient channel. My prediction is that we are going to ingest information,” he says in the video. “You’re going to swallow a pill and know English. You’re going to swallow a pill and know Shakespeare.”

How exactly would we absorb this new knowledge from the pill? While he’s short on the details, Negroponte said that the pill he has envisioned would follow the bloodstream to the brain, where it would deposit pieces of information in the right places.

Too hard to swallow?

Negroponte said that his prediction is not “quite as far-fetched” as you may think. After all, he said, he has discussed the idea with MIT colleagues including a neuroscientist and expert in biomechatronics (the science behind integrating electronics with biological organisms). Unrelated research, revealed earlier this year, suggested that there may be a drug capable of helping people develop perfect vocal pitch.

But don’t expect a language wonder drug to hit pharmacies anytime soon. Negroponte opines that this prediction is unlikely to come true for about 30 years.


Plot – a series of events that form the story in a novel, movie, etc..

Visionary – having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future.

Swallowing – to take (something) into your stomach through your mouth and throat.

Pill – a small, rounded object that you swallow and that contains medicine, vitamins, etc..

Revisits – to think about or look at (something) again.

Prediction – a statement about what will happen or might happen in the future.

Decades – a period of 10 years.

Intriguing – extremely interesting.

Inefficient – not capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy : not efficient.

Ingest – to take (something, such as food) into your body : to swallow (something).

Absorb – to take in (something, such as a liquid) in a natural or gradual way.

Short on – having less than what is needed : not having enough of something.

Envision – to think of (something that you believe might exist or happen in the future) : to picture (something) in your mind.

Bloodstream – the flow of blood that moves through the heart and body.

Deposit – to put or leave (someone or something) in a particular place.

Hard to swallow -An expression that means something is difficult to believe.

Far-fetched – not likely to happen or be true.

Revealed – to make (something) known.

Pitch – the highness or lowness of a sound.


Tell us what YOU think in the comments’ section; would you take a pill to learn a language? What language would you learn?


  1. Ohhhh My God, I want a lot pills for me, Maybe when I will be older, I can swallowing a pill for learn English jijijijijijij


    • George Talbot


      Thanks for your comment! If only these kinds of pills for learning a language existed! Things would be a lot easier indeed. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *