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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
1,291 ratings
334 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 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.

SS

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.

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301 - 325 of 327 Reviews for Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics

By Laurent G

Jan 19, 2018

I think this course was very interesting, and quite frankly it would deserve a 4.5 stars rating. My only (light) remark would be that I would have hoped more details on the research studies the teacher presents. It's only at the very end, in the society and linguistics part that we get to see some detailed results from an academic study. Also, I would have liked more on historical linguistics, but I know that was not part of the initial curriculum. Overall, kudos to Leiden University's linguistic team, this was a great course.

By Christopher B

Aug 14, 2017

Overall, I really enjoyed this class. It gave me an excellent overview of linguistics as the scientific study of language. The presentation style was really engaging as Maarten interacts with Martin, Inge and guests. The downloadable lecture transcripts were fantastic. That said, I have a few suggestions:

1) Include more free online resources. Most the background reading material were Amazon books, which are expensive if you come from a country with a weak currency. On the practical note, most telelearners like myself don't have time to read an entire book. It would have been far better to include journeys.

2) If students want to do the honours course, allow them to study on a different academic schedule. I found it impossible to complete research assignments and tests at the same.

3) A few assessment questions were poorly phrased and this leads to confusion on the single and multiple select quizzes.

4) Commenting and replying to questions wasn't that interactive. Hoping that somebody would randomly reply or comment to your answer was frustrating. If we were paired up with online study partners, we could discuss topics together.

5)Lastly, fix for typos on course material and tests.

MOOC's are definitely the future of education in an increasing globalized and connected world. Thank you for a great module.

By laura d

Oct 07, 2017

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. But otherwise, a fantastic free resource.

By Sara M A

Mar 25, 2018

There's just one problem: the exams. The questions and logic behind the answers are not clear enough. It's an excellent course and certainly, it would be relevant to my career.

By Mirko M

Jun 12, 2018

Professor van Oostendorp was a big plus and asset to this course. I would have really liked to have him as a professor at the Uni. I'm not giving 5 stars because I believe the estimated workload (in terms of time) for the mandatory reading material is at times vastly underestimated (like with the article on typology in module 1 and the audio lecture in module 6, for instance). Additionally, the way the forum is now, it is basically impossible to keep track of your own contributions and others' replies, which fatally undermines interaction between course participants.

By André P

Apr 09, 2018

Interesting course, I've learned a lot of things about studying languages.

By Elena A

May 02, 2017

It is a nice course, very well organized for those you are eager to learn about the theoritical aspects of linguistics, such as semantics, morphology. Every video has several quizes, just like every module. I would surely recommend it to anyone.

By Ralitsa N

Oct 14, 2018

The course is interesting and offers a theoretical basis together with real language examples, that is a good combination when trying to put some of the theory in practice. The interviews with researchers also offer different perspective into interesting topics. What I consider not quite well accomplished are the tests: some offer incorrect answers to questions that already have been pointed out, as mentioned by the staff, in previous editions. Not having them corrected rests credibility to the entire course material. The final test includes some questions that although having relationship with a particular module, are hardly something relevant to take away from this course (e.g. in what sentence did a language informant repeat a nasal sound as a result of a speech error). If we consider tests as a learning tool, as they should be, the way they are designed should be more careful and meaningful to the learner. Despite the parts that to me need improvement, I want to thank to everybody involved in preparing and offering this MOOC, as I know from personal experience how challenging this can be.

By Mohammed A M

May 26, 2019

Good and intense introduction, but difficult multiple choice questions as most answers are deeply rooted in the clips and not in a reading text.

love the free access to Ethnologue and introduction to other linguistic tools such as WALS.

Thanks to the team.

By Pascal W

Jul 21, 2019

I am essentially learning languages for work or for fun but this course gave me an opportunity to consolidate some knowledge / understanding about languages and across many languages. Excellent!

By Paisley G

Aug 09, 2019

There was a lot of interesting information in this course, and I liked the interviews and guest speakers of other languages. If I could change anything, it would be the wording on some of the quiz questions, and the difficulty of a beginner course asking for some of the analysis with the guest speakers.

By Jacqui A

Sep 08, 2019

I have enjoyed this course although being a somewhat deaf beginner I found the modules on the sounds of, and the mechanics of making, consonants along with the videos of the informants, somewhat frustrating.

. Plus I really struggled with Module 6 and Politeness Theory and am not totally sure that it actually added anything to the course, at least for me.

I read a number of reviews before I started this course, in which people were complaining about the quizzes and although some of the questions were relatively easy, they were not all just about ticking boxes, but actually reading and understanding the intent of the questions. I was a beginner with little previous studied knowledge of the subject.

The Professor was enthusiastic and engaging.

Thank you

By Laureen E

Sep 17, 2019

First course tried.. succeeded! Very informative and nice to work on! Thank you

By Jennylyn K H

Oct 21, 2019

Very enjoyable however, I feel that Quiz Three needs to be looked over for software problems.

By J. E

Oct 11, 2019

The course is excellent and the videos are very entertaining and engaging. The only problem I had was that the test questions were sometimes confusing and several of their answers could be considered true.

By Nathalie v L

Nov 05, 2019

great course. Great refresher 30 years after college.

By Tiffany O M B - R

Nov 11, 2016

I had a great and much needed introduction.

Tiffany B.

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 Zaida V L G

Sep 11, 2017

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

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 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 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 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 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 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.