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Back to Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics by Universiteit Leiden

4.7
stars
1,877 ratings
564 reviews

About the Course

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!...

Top reviews

DC
Sep 23, 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.

NI
Mar 10, 2021

The course was well-organised and very interesting. It covered the different aspects of linguistics wonderfully and prompted me to delve further into specific fields of linguistics such as phonetics.

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526 - 550 of 557 Reviews for Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics

By Rizky A D

Nov 6, 2016

101 linguistics

By Wang x

Feb 9, 2017

great course!

By Li j x

Oct 31, 2020

很好best

By Valdas M

Nov 20, 2020

Interesting course. It's difficult to cover everything in such a short course. The last two weeks' classes have not much to do with "miracles" of languages. I would say these things are common to all languages. I would have preferred to concentrate more on firs 4 weeks topics. This all stuff with politeness does not fit much in the topic. It's more sociolinguistics, cultural studies etc. And there is not much to learn. There is no much valuable information to remember. I liked more the beginning about sounds, typology of languages etc. This all stuff with positive and negative face was a little strange. Specially, it was difficult to do the tests with these "faces". Listening exercises were quite OK, but for instance to decode Chinese without transcription was impossible task. All these exercises with language mistakes was also strange. If we all do pronunciation mistakes in all languages what’s the point to study these mistakes? What's the point to see what mistake is made in Basque, Gungbe or any other language? I saw this exercise as pure waste of my time. So, my general suggestion would be to concentrate on pure linguistic things (first 4 weeks) and do not go into field of sociology, neuro or psycholinguistics. BTW this couple of students is not balanced because the young man dominates all discussions. The girl should be more active or the man less active.

By Jacques C

Dec 13, 2020

The course materials are incomplete or incorrect. In at least 3 of the weeks the course refers to information that is either not provided or is no longer available at the source. And there are at least 2 quiz questions that have incorrect answers. (And they acknowledge the questions are incorrect in the forums, but haven't bothered to fix them).

I would say that this course is also more difficult than it needs to be because some of the information required to properly understand the material and, thus, answer the quizzes is not covered in the course. Thus you basically have to troll wikipedia or google randomly to find this stuff out. It should just be provided as this is supposed to be a basic introductory course.

I also found all the peer interactions to be wanting. A lot of the learning is supposed to happen in the forums where you discuss things with your peers. Well almost no one replies to anyone else ... and when they do ... its generally not all that meaningful.

They obviously did a lot of work to get this course done and I appreciate that. But it should be a living thing. Mistakes should be corrected, a better way to have students interact with each other should be imagined.

I did get a good introduction to the concepts of linguistics even though the construction of the course is quite frustrating. So I gave it 3 stars.

By Warren C

Sep 22, 2019

Too difficult for an introductory course. Ambiguous information. Time estimates are way off. Not what I expected. Rather provincial in its approach. Guess I'm just not cut out to be a linguist. Answers to the tests are not available or derivable from the lectures and required readings. I've read a lot of articles and books, particularly about neurolinguistics and the intersection between linguistics and genomics and the information in the course does not really assist with understanding what I've been reading, though I can sort of see how the authors might have made use of some of the things presented here. The interview with Chomsky was particularly useless.

By Nina F

Feb 28, 2020

This course was interesting. It was interesting learning about linguistics and the various things related to languages. The only problem was that the quizzes were too hard. I feel like the quizzes were too hard for an introductory course to Linguistics. Many times, it was frustrating because it took me two or three tries just to pass them. I feel like this had a lot to do with how the questions were set up and through how it seemed like the answers to those questions weren't in the source material. My one recommendation would be to improve the quizzes.

By Laura J

Aug 22, 2019

The content was very interesting and offered in coherent ways. The quizzes, however, were more challenging than they needed to be. A lot of the questions were asked in unusual and unclear ways which made answering it very difficult because I wasn't always sure what exactly they were asking. I also found it difficult to know what exactly the answers meant as they often didn't correspond exactly to the way things were said in the lectures and readings, so even if you followed the content closely the answers didn't always make sense.

By Nobuko H

May 24, 2020

This course is good for those who are interested in linguistics and thinking of starting a professional linguistic studies. The course introduces some major linguistic subfields: linguistic typologist, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, phonologist, etc., but it's only introductions. You need to delve into the subfield you've got interested in if you want to really know about the specifics. A variety of reading materials are offered, and you can explore miracles of languages as much as you like!

By María P S

Jul 12, 2019

The ethnologue is a mess, and I don't think a linguistics course should depend on a website to pass not only some questions, but almost half of a module, because you can understand perfectly what people is saying about their languages and you can formulate accurate questions that can be answered with the information given, and not researching in a web that has different content than the course provides, or changes the numbers, or absolutely ignore some important facts of languages searched.

By Jeremy S

Jan 31, 2020

It is a decent course that teaches the very basics of linguistics. It covers the topics of a Linguistics 101 course but no topic is explored in depth. It seems that some of the topics mentioned are barely even touched (e.g., Week 5 - Language in the Brain). Professor Oostendorp is a good lecturer but the lectures are not presented for easy notetaking. You should be prepared to make your own notes from the video lectures given few summaries/bulleted lists/etc.

By Benjamin V

May 23, 2016

I watched all the videos, but did not do the coursework.

I was a total beginner on the subject. The videos were very well made, and quite nice to watch.

However, I feel like the material was a bit too easy for my taste. I would have enjoyed a course that delved into "harder things".

For someone who doesn't like as much "hard challenges" as I do, I do think that this course is a nice introduction to the subject.

By Z A

Apr 25, 2020

I've watched the first module and it was good.

Only that the website that we are supposed to get the answers for the first week's quiz ( the last 5-6 questions ) from, is not working. And I have to take the quiz several times to find the answers. Please do something about it for the future learners, thank you.

By Alisha K

Apr 25, 2020

I thought this class was very interesting, but I, like many others, was frustrated by the quizzes. Also, I tried to do the first honors assignment, but was at a big disadvantage using a language I don't know. How am I supposed to come up with counter examples when I don't know the language?

By Trixy L

Aug 2, 2020

Hard to understand with the accents at times and I have gone through the videos while trying to find an answer for the quiz and it was never mentioned in the video so sometimes the quizzes don't match what was taught. Otherwise, I learned a lot.

By Eva O

Jul 18, 2020

Very intersting but very time-consuming: in order to pass the tests with its tricky and detail-focused questions you need to read the questions carefuly and review all material a second time.

By Kash N

Dec 30, 2019

I was expecting that the course would cover IPA in-depth. It's pretty unconscionable that an intro linguistics course would not pay deep attention to this topic.

By Justin H

May 3, 2020

The quizzes in this class were the most difficult and confusing. I have had dozens of Coursera classes, but this course was the most troublesome.

By Zaida V L G

Sep 10, 2017

It is a good course for an introducion to Linguistics. However, it is a ittle technical

By Tiffany O M B - R

Nov 10, 2016

I had a great and much needed introduction.

Tiffany B.

By Mathew M

May 19, 2017

There were a lot fo sloppy mistakes in the videos, I looked up a lot fo the stuff up outside of the course (which I had to because it was explained to me on the course like i was a 5 year old) then when i tried to give genuinely thought out answers from my outside readings the course said it was wrong, i don't know who to believe but i have to beieve it is the course because there have been a number of times when a concept hasn't been explained in depth enough and the quiz has not reflected the quizzes. also a lot of the time the outside reading does not reflect the lectures, i did like the informants but this wasn't recapped and none of my errors were corrected before i had to go in to the quiz. You could add more videos after the informants to explain what we should have been looking for. Sometimes the task during this wasn' made explicitly clear. I did like the phonology part, that was fairly traightforward and well explained.

By kelly s

Dec 3, 2017

The course and videos are wonderful the speakers are engaging and the content fascinating. As a more casual student I am finding the quizzes far too difficult. I am a very smart person and I am struggling with understanding the phonetic alphabet and other very technical aspects of this course. I will be dropping the course because while I wanted to learn the concepts I do not have the time or patience to get that granular for a course of this type.

By Nathan T

Aug 11, 2016

Interesting content, but issues with broken links needed to complete quizzes while they were due. Needs better explanation of how to use other resources. Many of the quiz questions are arbitrary, rather than really testing knowledge gained in the class. The lectures are still useful, and would recommend doing this as a free course, but see no use in paying for a certificate on completion of the course.

By Hank F

Sep 19, 2020

Instructions were confusing or absent in parts of the course. See forum. I also was left with no practical application of what I learned. I enjoyed the studies which showed language changing within cultural divisions

By James D

May 19, 2016

Very slow moving. Feels like you have to sit through a lot for very obvious information. I would recommend http://ielanguages.com/linguistics/ for a more detailed and more concise introduction.