23 sept. 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.
10 mars 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.
par Kathleen K•
15 mai 2016
Material is excellent and very interesting. Test questions can be confusing and poorly phrased.
par Anna B•
11 oct. 2022
I don't regret taking this course. It was created by truly A-class linguistics experts. The course really gives you a very basic look at linguistics, showcasing its primary building blocks. I have learned a lot! Thank you everyone for your work! I do understand it's hard to squeeze all the linguistic essentials in the 6-week timespan, so the course creators relied on the students' autonomy greatly.
But sometimes, the amount of required reading was just overwhelming. Also, I had a feeling that the course content and the tests were created by separate people, as it took me great pains to connect the dots between the relevance of the test questions and the material learned. This course demands strong analytical skills, so if you're not used to reading and understanding the scientific content on-the-spot, prepare for multiple re-reading.
Some tests took me long enough to pass. I couldn't actually find a way to know the correct answers. Due to this, I have this dreadful feeling I could have done better. The forum is half-dead and keeps going at cost of those who keep enrolling.
All in all, if you need to learn the most general picture of linguistics, this is a nice course. It won't make you a professional though, but you will get a clearer view on why this science is not that easy! However, due to all tech and organization drawbacks, I don't feel like investing into the certificate. This course needs revitalizing!
par David P•
1 nov. 2021
Overall, I enjoyed doing this course and it was a fair overview of introductory linguistics. However, there are a couple of issues that made me give a very average rating.
The quizzes need to be revised. I also felt the frustration of redoing the quizzes and realising that several questions are very unclear, and a few don't have a correct answer. Sometimes the correct answer was vaguely mentioned in the videos. To fix this, the course-writers need to check that any answers are explicitly and clearly referred to in the course material first.
Discussions should be encouraged a lot more than once or twice a week. Some videos could lead to some very interesting discourse, but there isn't much prompting given to the students. Also, and this may be a fault in the website and not the course, I never got any notifications when someone replied to my comments (and I don't believe that other students were notified either, when I replied to their comments).
I hope this course gets a regular revision. The material is interesting, but the faults in the course are too obvious to ignore.
par Omar A I•
16 sept. 2020
Las exposiciones de los temas fueron estupendas en todo momento. Aprendí mucho; el único pero es la ambigüedad y dificultad del examen final; sobre todo, para quienes no tienen el inglés como lengua materna.
par Sarah B•
4 avr. 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.
par HADI K•
11 févr. 2021
Excellent course! I considered myself acquainted with almost most topics related to Linguistics and Language study due to my extensive reading in this field. But I realised that this course opened my eyes widely on some details in this field that I was not quite aware of. The videos were very simple but well-prepared, covering the topics gradually along with exercises and interviews with experts. The interview with Naom Chomsky was the jewel of the course. I watched several times. The interview with Prof Claartje Levelt was very informative. Many THANKS to the course instructor; Prof Marc van Ootendorp who was such a wonderful person, he knows how to attract his viewers very well (I hope I am not violating the quality maxim here). I believe, he managed to present this course to all levels; basic to advance. Thanks to both Marten and Inge for their presence and inputs. They were integral to this course. They managed very well all interviews, even the most difficult one with Chomsky. Thumps up for them!!
Thanks to Leiden University and to Coursera for this course. I do recommend it to all those who are fascinated by the human language.
par Sue Y C•
6 juin 2021
This course provides a great glimpse into the field of linguistics. The overall structure of modules was very easy to follow through, and within each module the information is offered in bite-sized units of lectures, readings, empirical data of various language informants, and interviews of real-life linguists which gives a sense of a 360 degree view of the subject. The workload was evenly spread out between the weeks and between each small unit, so instead of getting stressed out about the week's learning, I could just pick up where I left off at any time, knowing I could take one step at a time. Finally, introduction to additional resources, such as publications and blogs written by linguists, as well as a temporary subscription to the Ethnologue turned out to be extremely valuable, as I had no prior knowledge of the field and this was all new information. They will continue to be a valuable resource as I continue my learning. I do hope that more courses like this would be offered in the field of linguistics. Thank you Professor Oostendorp and his two students, and everyone involved in making this course available.
par Jeyana M•
7 août 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.
par Ashwini C•
23 mai 2021
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.
par Javier F•
28 févr. 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!
par Reshma R•
20 avr. 2020
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. :)
par Tejo D K•
1 sept. 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.
par swimming g•
24 mai 2021
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! :))
par Heather M•
19 avr. 2021
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.
par Issa H•
20 oct. 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.
par Julie B•
21 févr. 2021
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!
par Jeremy I•
5 juin 2020
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.
par Nicklas K•
17 nov. 2020
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
9 oct. 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!
par Isadora S V d R U•
5 juil. 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!
par Iushchencko A•
26 juin 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!
par Diana C•
9 oct. 2020
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.
par Christopher L•
30 déc. 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.
par Sandeep V•
16 juil. 2020
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.
par Tyson W•
17 juin 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!