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.
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 Jeyana M•
"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 Ashwini C•
An excellent course that touches upon all the facets of language. I never knew language could itself be studied like a science, even though it's not a law of nature like gravity. Prof Oostendorp does a fabulous job of giving you multiple perspectives of looking at language - as a social tool, as a lens into the world, as a scientific object to be studied, as an experience in the brain, what different experts say about it and finally what are the various states of endangerment/prosperity in which many real-world languages exist.
The grad students (Marten and Inge) did a nice job of preempting the questions we would've had during the lecture. And of course, playing around with Ethnologue and listening to the language informants (6 beautiful languages from 6 parts of the world) were the cherry on the top. Overall, an incredible experience. You can see the effort that has gone into this. Kudos to the whole team! Brilliant work. Definitely need a Part 2 to this.
By Javier F•
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 Reshma R•
This course is by far one of my top favourites (yes, I have a few!) among the courses I have done on Coursera. Prof. Marc van Oostendorp has a way of teaching that has you transfixed in his classes. The structure of the course is dynamic and had me glued to the computer literally binge-watching the lecture videos!
I could do this course once more all over again and would probably say the same thing at the end of it! :D Some of my favourite videos were the ones that had an interview of an expert or a talk-show format. The Professor's teaching assistants have done a great job, as have the others who were featured in the short language-trailer videos.
This course makes for a wonderful experience if anything, I would definitely recommend it to all language and linguistics enthusiasts. :)
By Tejo D K•
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 swimming g•
As a high schooler interested in linguistics and a competitor in NACLO, this opened my eyes to all the opportunities out there related to different fields of linguistics. Since linguistics is not a course taught in high school where I live, I'm super glad I got the chance to explore it with this course. It was just the right amount of depth and fun so as to not make the course extremely difficult to digest, but also not boring. While the quizzes and final exam were definitely difficult, (I think practice with school tests may actually helped out a lot here haha), I'm super glad I got the chance to take it and would recommend anyone who's interested in linguistics or language to try it out! Cheers! :))
By Heather M•
This is the second Coursera course I've completed and I absolutely loved it. I took the Miracles of Human Language course for fun and found myself captivated and immersed in the subject. Prof Marc van Oostendorp and his students were wonderfully informative and I've found myself discussing the interesting nuggets of information I've acquired with friends and work colleagues. One of the great things about Coursera is that you adapt it to the level of learning you require. I'm learning for pleasure, not to gain new academic qualifications, and I felt this course has really enriched my life. I've already recommended it to other people. I'm now looking for my next Coursera challenge. Thanks Marc and team.
By Issa H•
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.
By Julie B•
Really well designed. Great topics and a nice balance of videos and readings. I did not enjoy the ethnologue part as much, but that it is me. I found the discussion prompts excellent and very beneficial for thinking more deeply on the subject. I also liked they way they are set up. I wonder, if anyone had replied to one of my posts, would I have seen it? I replied to several people with thoughtful answer and don't know if they saw my answers. Finally, I think it would be nice to receive a final grade for the course, even if it doesn't truly count for anything, it's a satisfying feeling. Thank you for all your efforts. I truly appreciated the course. Great job!
By Jeremy I•
It is a well-built course with a competent and engaging instructor. I appreciated particularly the varation in content that was offered: normal videos, discussions, interviews with experts of the field and the videos of the informants. The latter provided interesting insights in foreign languages that one usually doesn't get to hear and I was amazed by the big varations between them. Both the required and optional readings are useful for having additional resources and the 2-month free access to Ethnlogue provided by Leiden University is also very nice for everyone that wants to explore further the fascinating world of languages.
By Nicklas K•
An informative introduction to linguistics! I enjoyed the sample languages provided, and especially the dialogues from renowned experts in the field such as Labov and Chomsky. I do wish, however, there had been more discussion about ongoing research, career/education pathways, and applied linguistics itself. (I am an ESL teacher considering a more stable future for myself.) Overall, my sincerest thanks to Marc, Inge, Marten, and all the language informants for providing this quality content to folks like me in dire need of some mental stimulation during this lockdown. I wish you all the very best. -Nick
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•
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•
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 Diana C•
No tengo formación en el área, no hablo inglés y sin embargo me divertí muchísimo. El profesor van Oostendorp y sus estudiantes Inge y Martin resultaron muy buenos conductores de un proceso que me permitió: rectificar mis nociones básicas, conocer la variedad de soluciones/caminos que es capaz de idear el ser humano y asomarme al trabajo de especialistas.
Los recursos disponibilizados, lejos de ser banales, tampoco imponen niveles inalcanzables. Agradezco especialmente la transcripción (aunque sea en inglés), de otra manera, no hubiera podido completar el curso.
By Christopher L•
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 Sandeep V•
Excellent introduction to the subject of linguistics. Thoroughly enjoyed my time with this course, and it has piqued my interest in taking this further.
I loved the way Prof Dr van Oostendorp presents this course, with genuine interest, understanding, humour and nuance. I really liked the teaching style and would love to have more contact with him. And I also liked the way Marten and Inge were part of the course, and how they interacted with the professor and with me.
The course is structured well and is easy to finish even while one has a day job.
By Tyson W•
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!
Teaching is not an easy job, even more so online, but this course was so well done with diverse course materials, various speakers and especially such an enthusiastic teacher. Probably one of the best course I had in my entire education. I wish there was a module specifically about language history, because that's what I'm interested in the most, but really it's a great introduction to a field that was very foreign to me. Too bad there isn't more course about linguistics on here, but at least we're given reading recommendations to follow up.
By Nicte C•
I absolutely loved this course!! I had no idea what Linguistics really was, and this course explained it perfectly. The Professor is extraordinary. It is very well structured, clearly explained, the part of the informants is very illustrative but sometimes difficult to interpret, which makes it all the more challenging. The exams are very tough so you have to study a lot, which is great,, because a free course doesn't mean that it will be easy. I wish there were more courses on this subject by the same institution, it was fantastic.
By Daniela Z•
An excellent course. Easy to follow, easy to understand, and it encourages you to comment and have dialogues in the forum for every topic. The quizzes are a little bit hard, but that's expected from a well thought out and put up course made by university professors. It has been really fun to follow for six weeks, which I think is a well designed period to learn the basics of Linguistics. Also, it has a lot of videos of informants with different languages so it's very diverse. Thank you so much. I'll revisit these contents later.
By Rahul M S•
The professor taught the material in a very clear and understandable way. Having live examples using various language informants was also very informative (the only qualm I would have is that the Mandarin Chinese videos should be transliterated in a more readable format, most of it was incomprehensible due to my unfamiliarity with any aspect of the language). The reading material and books were also really interesting. Overall, I learnt a great deal in this course and I think I have a better idea of the field of linguistics.
By G S S•
I wholeheartedly like to thank Dr. Marc van Oostendorp and his team for presenting this MOOC course is the best possible manner. I really gained good knowledge and developed lots and lots of interest toward language and linguistics. This course has almost covered major aspects of human language and linguistics. In my opinion this course gives a very good platform for those who would like do research in Language and Linguistics. Interviews with some of the eminent persons in the field Language and Linguistics was excellent.
By Rushikesh D•
This is course will surely play a pivotal role in my understanding of the human language when I will study more in depth at the university completing a MA in Lingustics. Thanks to the professors who contributed to this courses, all the people who crowdfunded a module 6, Martin and Inge and other professors who were a part of this course. Thanks for the exclusive interview of Dr Chomsky too. Lastly, I would like to thank Coursera for giving me this opprtunity to learn about this subject. Once again, Thanks to everybody.
By Emily H•
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.