Sep 24, 2017
Extremely informational, well presented, with questions that stimulate reflection. The optional reading material is food for thought. I hope to see more courses from the same professor and University.
Jan 03, 2017
Excellent! Really enjoyed and learnt a lot. I did not expect such a great content and professionalism in a free course. I am definitely purchasing for the title.\n\nThanks to all the team! Great job!
By Samantha S•
Mar 22, 2019
I've taken a number of online courses on linguistics now, and this one was by and far the best. The material covered is indepth and engaging, and the professor's enthusiam makes the videos a delight.
By Ion B•
Oct 07, 2018
At times I found the exam questions frustratingly ambigous, so a review of those would be in order so that future misconceptions can be avoided. The other thing that I found problematic is that the course offers a lot of trivial information, so at times I felt that I was wasting my time. In other words, it is maybe too much introductory in character, something which some persons would appreciate, but it was not for me. The best part of the course, in my opinion, are the interviews. I got the chance to hear a lot interesting stuff there. The language informants part is quite nicely done, too. It gives you the chance to sharpen your attention listening to language. The professor makes himself quite enjoyable till the end. It would be really nice if he considers next to start a more advanced MOOC on linguistics, one which will involve more readings and a chance to delve more deeply into the miracles he so cheerfully talked about.
By Robert C C•
Nov 05, 2018
I failed to see what the quizzes had to do with the lectures. There were errors, apparently, and I couldn't see the connection between the foreign language informants and what we were supposed to do in the quizzes. I was thankful that the discussions and peer assignments/ reviews were not required. If it were not for the mentors who helped with some of my trouble spots, I'm not sure what I would have. Even some of the questions on the final were barely discussed in the lesson. The professor Marc made it interesting and at times funny, and thus he did a great job, but because of the quizzes I nearly qu
By Jack K•
Jun 19, 2017
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. His enthusiasm and outright love of the discipline are infectious and are filtered by an evident and generous humanity. This works especially well in his choice of guest speakers who are without exception a joy to hear. He ties it all together at the end with William Labov's wonderful retrospective, showing the student that one doesn't have to be a follower of a particular school of thought to appreciate how its proponents generously pour their discipline, experience, skills, love and humanity into what they are doing. In so doing they, as well as the good Professor, share the essential lesson: approach language with all the scientific discipline you can muster but always keep in mind that it is something human, mysterious and very much alive, and always changing. Something that cannot be caged.
Why only two stars? One star off for each of the following:
First, it is too light and the required readings too short and too easy. Furthermore, there is an over focus on certain topics, especially politeness theory and speech errors, which doesn't really go anywhere. Other topics, such as approaches to syntactical analysis, cognitive linguistics, etc. could well be further explored.
Next, the structure of student participation should be enhanced to require much more lateral work (of better quality) among and between students currently taking the course. Much of the recent input was appallingly poor, leaving one with the impression that participants where just ticking boxes.
Finally, and most importantly, is the failure of the course on this commercial platform. The student receives many emails urging the purchase of a certificate or of other courses, but the course itself is not kept properly updated. It contains many errors that have not been corrected for quite some time. Most are not very important, but some, including a few patently incorrect quiz and exam answers (which have been cited and admitted in the Forum but not changed), are important. The student has, in effect, no way to check where s/he might have gone wrong. The student gets no up-to-date feedback. The course was free, a kind of teaser for the commercial product, but that gives Coursera all the more reason to keep it updated, to keep on improving it. One gets the impression, as things now stand, that Coursera cares about the money a little too much. That it has missed the balance between the search for profit and the search for meaning.
Coursera is letting this course, a lovely living thing, slowly die on the vine.
By Barbara M•
Jun 14, 2016
The course was often confusing and the quizzes came down to a question of trial and error. I found this very frustrating. Although the topics were interesting, I didn't find them very well presented in spite of the enthusiasm of the lecturer. But there was a lot of ambiguity and bias and the inability to discuss except through the forums was off-putting.
It wouild be good to know why answers were wrong in the quizzes particulalry when you had put a lot of effort into studying them.
In the final exam, there are questions which are evidently wrong, both in their wording and in their marking and nothing has been done to remedy this in spite of the complaints in the discussion page.
By Craig H•
Jun 05, 2016
The course itself is fine. The quizzes, however, are so frustrating as to lower the enjoyment of the whole thing. Numerous answers are just factually wrong. You end up retaking the quiz time and again and then selecting random answers just to pass.
By Edmar O•
May 15, 2019
This course has helped me reactivate my writing and critical thinking skills. This has also reminded me of some linguistic principles that I am now applying in my language teaching job. Also, one of my goals is to look for some potential topics for research and the projects have given me some topics for consideration. The format of the course is comprehensive, informative and can be accessed smoothly. Prof. Dr. van Oostendorp explains the topics extensively and he interacts with Martin and Igne and the language informants as if he has everything in mind. The topics are full packed together with the readings. I enjoyed doing the fieldwork as they are potential research topics.
Thank you Coursera!
By Isadore S•
Dec 31, 2018
This course was very useful despite that I did not do it for credit. I have, overall been very content with the course. I would like to thank the professor, Mr. van Oostendorp and everyone else who helped for creating such an informative and interesting course. I would recommend this course to just about anyone.
By Maria P•
Jun 23, 2016
Some of the material could be a bit more analytical, and there were a few problems with the quiz questions. Other than that, perfect! Great introduction to linguistics. Thank you for your hard work!
By Diana P•
Jan 03, 2017
Excellent! Really enjoyed and learnt a lot. I did not expect such a great content and professionalism in a free course. I am definitely purchasing for the title.
Thanks to all the team! Great job!
By Lucas V d C•
Jan 05, 2019
Great course, but the quizzes can be a bit too demanding and without clear answers.
By Rawan A•
Jan 16, 2019
Was helpful course. I learned a lot of things from this course.
By Sarah B•
Apr 04, 2018
I would not recommend this course to anyone interested in an introductory linguistics course. While I understood the content of the lectures, discussion videos, interviews, language informant videos, and required reading, the quizzes were far too difficult for a beginner course. I found myself wanting to drop the course, and the discussion forums show I am not alone in my frustrations throughout the six weeks.
By Maxine X•
Jun 28, 2016
This course is not so good. A lot of things are just come from the instructor's head without correcting reference from high quality literature. He can say whatever he think is right. But I would not say all animals do not have complex language systems, or we have one single origin of language. I would also suggest the instructor to interview more world-famous linguists, not just play simple ask and answer with his students.
The examples of different languages in the later weeks are interesting. But somehow I expect some better understanding of more aspects of languages. In general I would say it still has so much space for improvement. I would not recommend anyone to spend time on learning this course.
By Gehad G M•
Feb 12, 2017
I don't know what is the problem as I study the videos well and when it come to taking quiz i never pass so I watch the videos over and aver again but it always the same result
the part of other languages I'm not sure what is the point of it I mean does it help in English to know how to say for example hi in other languages plz if anyone passed the course . could u plz help me
By Jeyana M•
Aug 07, 2016
"Miracles of Human Language" is a great introductory course for those who want to get into linguistics, but it is also an amazing course for writers, teachers, psychologists and all lifelong learners interested in a topic.
I'm very grateful to Prof. Dr Marc van Oostendorp, his students and everyone who was involved in creating this course. I also want to say thanks to coursera team for making this course available for so many learners.
This course inspired me to start learning Spanish and French (I now spend some time on duolingo.com every day, and with a great pleasure).
Also, after finishing this course, I felt confident enough to start an important writing project (a book for children with a goal to prevent child abuse, the book is in Russian).
In this course the idea of changing the world with your words is presented in such a simple and convincing way, that it's impossible to resist. I think this course made me a better teacher, a better writer and a happier person.
By Javier F•
Feb 28, 2017
I've found the course extremely interesting and well organized to be an introductory course. 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. After the fun of completing the week assignments with a lot of attention put into details, it's a pity when the quiz is not clear or frustrating.
Thank you, I enjoyed it a lot!
By Tejo D K•
Sep 01, 2018
This is one of the best courses I have done in my life. I always used to wonder about human languages and how they evolved, and this course answered a lot of my questions and now I am even more interested in the subject as I know the technicalities of linguistics. My special thanks to Professor Marc van Oostendorp who was just amazing and made the topics very interesting and creative. The main reason I completed the course though it has some difficult topics was because of his wonderful teaching and ability to grab my attention. My thanks to Inge and Martin for their discussions and their very thoughtful questions. I will wait for other courses from Leiden University, Thank you for making me more knowledgeable.
By Issa H•
Oct 20, 2019
The course was very informative and enjoyable. The professor is clear and to the point and I liked his style and logic. The course is well rounded and the course creators have put a lot of effort into designing it and making it engaging. I loved the discussions with Martin and Inge and the opportunity they were give to conduct the interviews. The readings were enjoyable and it was nice to see prof. Noam Chomsky in one of the interviews. I liked the visit to the lab video. This course was quite lovely and the instructors and the students alike are passionate about it. I guess this goes to show that people who choose this field do so because they are so passionate about it.
Oct 09, 2017
This was my first Coursera course and I found it immensely informative and interesting. Professor van Oostendorp seems to have a genuine enthusiasm for linguistics, which made working through the modules rather enjoyable. I also greatly appreciated the extras (i.e. discussions with his students, interviews, etc.) as they really helped to solidify my understanding of the material. My only quibble is I wish the correct answers were provided after completion of each quiz, as this would have helped with my review. But overall, I loved this course and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in linguistics!
By Isadora S V d R U•
Jul 05, 2016
A wonderful course on principles in Linguistics presented by this lovely professor Dr. Marc van Oostendorp and enriched with the discussions with Marten and Inge. As a Linguistics and Literature student, I felt that they found what was a very nice way to spread this knowledge and, in my case, a more concise discipline in which I could refresh my memory for somethings but also get to know new informations and different points of view and, at last, as an observer from Brazil, to compare a little how these things are discussed here from there. Thank you very much for the hard work and the entousiasm!
By Iushchencko A•
Jun 26, 2016
I would like to say an enormous "Thank You" to everyone who contributed to this Course to be accessible: to professor Marc van Oostendorp, to Marten and Inge, to informants, to translators, redactors, designers and all whom I didn't mention but who were those thanks to whom we now know all we know and share this with others! The Course specifically opened to me that our living in four walls and thinking about ourselfs mostly hides us from all the beatiful unknown things happening in the world: from other cultures, other ways of looking at things! Indeed, folks, live in peace, let it be so!
By Christopher L•
Dec 30, 2016
It is very nice to see an introductory course in linguistics, especially for it being free and available online. I would not have had an opportunity like that anywhere here locally, which makes this course special to me. The instructor and his pupils were paramount to the learning experience, and with the addition of interviews and recommended readings, this course excels in tactically defining and showing what linguists do and what they study. I want to thank Leiden University and Marc van Oostendorp for providing such a professionally delivered MOOC.
By Tyson W•
Jun 18, 2016
Miracles of Human Language is a wonderful introduction to the field of linguistics. Prof.dr. M. van Oostendorp is an adept and engaging lecturer and his knowledge of his field is vast. His discussions with Marten and Inge were engaging and his interactions with the language informants was, well... informing! I only wish I could contribute a language to his MOOC as well as participate in his research and work at Universiteit Leiden. Thank you, Dr. van Oostendorp, Marten, Inge, Roberta, Khalid, Han, Varun, Enoch, and Beste. It's been quite a ride!
By Emily H•
Oct 03, 2016
I found the course very informative, there was quite a lot of information in there for only six weeks of study but it didn't feel overwhelming either. 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. 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. Overall, I was quite impressed by this course.