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Miracles of Human Language

An Introduction to Linguistics

Everywhere, every day, everybody uses language. There is no human society, no matter how small or how isolated, which does not employ a language that is rich and diverse. This course introduces you to linguistics, featuring interviews with well-known linguists and with speakers of many different languages. Join us to explore the miracles of human language! The Miracles of Human Language introduces you to the many-faceted study of languages, which has amazed humans since the beginning of history. Together with speakers of many other languages around the world, as well as with famous linguists such as Noam Chomsky and Adele Goldberg, you will learn to understand and analyse how your native tongue is at the same time similar and different from many other languages. You will learn the basic concepts of linguistics, get to know some of the key features of big and small languages and get insight into what linguists do. This course gives an introduction into the study of languages, the field of linguistics. With the support of the basic linguistic terminology that is offered in the course, you will soon be able to comment both on variety between languages, as well as on a single language’s internal structure. Anyone who wishes to understand how languages work, and how they can give us insight into the human mind is very welcome to join. The course is useful if you want to get a fairly quick introduction into linguistics, for instance because you are considering studying it further, or because you are interested in a neighbouring discipline such as psychology, computer science or anthropology. Furthermore, the course will help you develop analytical skills. If you are curious to understand how language works and how it gives insight into the human mind, this course is definitely for you!

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Universiteit Leiden

Rating 4.6 based on 235 ratings
Length 7 weeks
Starts Feb 11 (6 weeks ago)
Cost $49
From Universiteit Leiden, Meertens instituut (KNAW) via Coursera
Instructor Marc van Oostendorp
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Art & Design Humanities Languages
Tags Arts And Humanities Music And Art Language Learning Other Languages

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What people are saying

We analyzed reviews for this course to surface learners' thoughts about it

marc van oostendorp in 11 reviews

Professor Marc van Oostendorp explains everything in a clear and simple way and makes one get involved in the course and wants to deepen the study of Linguistics.

Professor Marc van Oostendorp is a wonderful teacher.

Professor Marc van Oostendorp has woven a lovely and living web of an introduction/refresher to Linguistics for anyone with the beginning of a serious interest.

I am very appreciated to the professor Marc van Oostendorp and his students for this MOOC.

I had no special need for the course and, accordingly, no special expectations besides the joy of learning the basics of a subject that I've always liked, and of acquiring some basic skills on it.Professor Marc van Oostendorp does a remarkable job on being didactic, clear, interesting and covering a nice selection of aspects of this wonderful field.The course's dynamics is very nice: lectures, dialogues, assignments, interviews, informants' contributions, readings, forum, quiz... it's never boring, really nicely structured!A point which in my opinion can be improved: the redaction of the questions in the quizzes are many times unclear, confusing and even misleading.

I want to thank Leiden University and Marc van Oostendorp for providing such a professionally delivered MOOC.

Thanks to professor Marc van Oostendorp, Martin, Inga and other informants and contributors who made this course so highly informative and well-structured.

Professor Marc van Oostendorp was very engaging in his presentation of the material, and I liked the fact that his students were there to ask questions as well.

recommend this course in 7 reviews

If you're at all interested in human language, and as a human being you probably should be, I would strongly recommend this course.

I highly recommend this course.

I would not recommend this course to anyone interested in an introductory linguistics course.

I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in Linguistics and languages, especially beginners.

I'd recommend this course to anyone who loves languages and wants to explore the fascinating world of linguistics Covers a wide range of topics and goes quite in-depth given time constraints.

I would recommend this course to people who are considering studying Language or Linguistics at university.

I would highly recommend this course!

highly recommend in 7 reviews

Highly recommended!

This is the most interesting MOOC I've ever taken!I highly recommend everyone to try it Brilliant Course!

I highly recommend it!

Highly recommended.

language informants in 6 reviews

really good and interesting, the quizzes (especailly the final one) were a bit irritating when you had to keep flicking back to previous videos on the same page (the language informants); I felt that the final quiz should have been exclusively what has been lerned rather than going back to langauge informant videos.

Love the material, readings and language informants!

I found the professor, as well as the assistants delightful, and the language informants were also very exciting to have.

I found some of the quiz questions to be unnecessarily difficult because of how specific they were to the videos of the language informants, but overall, I enjoyed the course and the wide range of supplemental materials that are offered.

I also liked how the language informants were used - I was able to practice what I had learned in the other videos by analysing their speech patterns.

His discussions with Marten and Inge were engaging and his interactions with the language informants was, well... informing!

well presented in 6 reviews

I can not provide a comprehensive review, other than to say the course content is well presented and interesting, especially for someone new to the subject, like me.

The Professor is very personable and the lectures are well presented.

The course is very interesting and well presented.

Extremely informational, well presented, with questions that stimulate reflection.

Well presented and organised.

Although the topics were interesting, I didn't find them very well presented in spite of the enthusiasm of the lecturer.

his students in 6 reviews

discussions with his students, interviews, etc.)

I'm very grateful to Prof. Dr Marc van Oostendorp, his students and everyone who was involved in creating this course.

I would also suggest the instructor to interview more world-famous linguists, not just play simple ask and answer with his students.

Excellent and most enjoyable course!The videos of the professor and his students are clear and fluent and even the quiz are not too hard.And the best part are the informants in various languages one does not encounter every day.The course is mostly recommended to all.


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Universiteit Leiden

Rating 4.6 based on 235 ratings
Length 7 weeks
Starts Feb 11 (6 weeks ago)
Cost $49
From Universiteit Leiden, Meertens instituut (KNAW) via Coursera
Instructor Marc van Oostendorp
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Art & Design Humanities Languages
Tags Arts And Humanities Music And Art Language Learning Other Languages

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