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.
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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by Christopher B•
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 Ralitsa N•
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 Muhip T•
More comprehensive than I thought. Starts with a good introduction and goes through different areas of linguistics: phonology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics, biological aspects etc. Although some videos have some mistakes in them, course material is high quality. Lectures and interviews are professional and language informants have been chosen well (thanks and congratulations to each informant!)
I gave 4 stars because I felt that the quizzes and the final exam were a bit too detailed for an online course. It would be worse if they were too easy, but I think this difficulty is still a bit over the top (although I passed almost all of them at first attempt)
I definitely like when courses force attendants to go on the forum, write their ideas and respond to others. This mandatory interaction definitely works and the forum is full of brilliant comments and good discussions.
To sum up: difficult exams but the course has been prepared very professionally and whoever wants to have a basic understanding of the study of linguistics would gain a lot from this.
by Andrew D•
Great course and a fantastic introduction to linguistics. The Professor's passion for the subject is infectious, and he and the assistants present information very clearly. The interviews also allow the participant an insight into current developments in the field.
The discussion forum was a particularly good touch. It was interesting to see a lot of different perspectives and interpretations. This was the most rewarding in the pragmatics section, with the differing interpretations about whether a student in the scenario presented had violated any of Grice's maxims.
Areas for improvement:
- Some of the quiz questions felt very ambiguous; like there could be more than one correct answer. This led to some annoying dropped marks.
- The honours assignment instructions were quite unclear (this came up in the forums also).
- Missing content like subtitles from the language informant videos.
Overall, would thoroughly recommend this course, both for beginners and for those with some or even much linguistic knowledge.
by Francesca P•
I really enjoyed this course and I feel lucky for having the chance to learn new things about Linguistics with a prestigious university such as Leiden. The only thing that doesn't make me give five stars is that in some points the course was not perfectly clear: in the second week I got information about the way we were supposed to pass the quiz through the forum and when I asked a question on the forum no one ever answered to me. I understand this may be because not everyone feels to get involved in the discussions, but I feel that there should be someone from the organisation side actually checking if everything is going smooth or not. Another thing I didn't find very well made was in week 6 the article on Lebov: because the article was no longer available, you were supposed to see a hour long video to get the information for the quiz. Anyway, a part from these little feedback, I enjoyed the course and I feel that I have more background information now.
I took ths course out of interest rather than to make progress in a career. It provides an interesting survey of several topics in linguistics, which assists in choosing other material for further private study. Given the shortness of the course, some of the material is relatively superficial but that is unavoidable in these circumstances. Professor van Oostendorp is enthusiastic and entertaining as well as informative. He has recruited two students to assist in presenting the material, both of whom are engaging and useful additions. They provide a natural way to foster dialogues with the professor, presumably in an attempt to capture a sense of the importance of discussion and debate (rather than mere didactism) in academic study and they succeed magnificently in this task. In particular, they pose well-considered and well-phrased questions whose answers prompt epiphanies in understanding.
by Jacqui A•
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.
by DieDiachFort! D•
Probably the #1 online course for anyone looking to understand the basics of linguistics. Dr. Oostendorp explains many of the topics very well, and his 2 student guests asked a lot of thought-provoking questions during the discussion lectures. Also, I feel like the weekly assessments were difficult enough to promote strong recall and understanding of the week's information, but also not disproportionately hard. On a personal note, this course let me look at all the subfields within linguistics and decide what I was most interested in so I could find further resources and continue enjoying learning. However, I'm only giving a 4 star(probably closer to a 4.5) since i feel like certain topics could've been talked about more, like syntax and syntax trees.
by Ana S T P•
I liked the couse a lot, but I think the quizzes are very tricky and there are questions that you have to deduce more than to know. This is OK as part of learning, but it turns a little difficult when English is not your first language. Also, there were some errors in the quizzes, especially in week 3 and 4. It's very interesting to listen to the informants, but I find difficult to answer the questions about them. I'm not familiar with those languages and it's very hard, and I think that's not the point of the course, like to know how to say "grandma" in Abruzzese or how many ways there are to say "son" in Chinese. So, it may be taken into consideration. Anyways, I really liked the course and I hope it can grow for the best. Thank you!
by Rosangela O•
This is the first course I did with Coursera, and I chose it for curiosity and for general interest in languages. Also, it is still COVID-19 pandemic time, and I want to do something besides working from home.
I did enjoy the course. I completed it, but I am not doing the final assignment and the peer review.
I had fun taking the test more than once to pass the course, but it bothered me not to finding the right answer for the questions, even if I tried different options. I would like to have access to the right answer to understand why I did not get it right.
I appreciated to have the transcript of each course as well.
by Julie J•
I really enjoyed the content of this course. It really was a fascinating introduction and I feel I have learnt so much. It has made me hungry to learn more in some ways but less in others (as I found some parts quite technical and tricky but felt proud when I finally worked out the answers!). The Professor is very personable and the lectures are well presented. I did not personally have time to do the Peer assessments but would have liked to. Thank you to all involved. i chose this course as it interested me but it was by chance from Leiden university which is where I live. I felt more connected somehow.
by Joyce v H•
This was a very informative introduction into linguistics. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, but the topics where are relevant and challenging. Because of the limited time a course offers, I do think the course lacks some coherence between topics.
I would've liked more exercises of analyzing language of the informants. That was good practice and I learned a lot from it.
I also would like to do the peer assignments, but I missed some more interaction between other participants to do so.
All things considered this was time well spent and I would love to learn more about linguistics after this.
by Mirko M•
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 Laurent G•
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.