Linguistics OpenCourseWare: MIT's Free Bachelor Level Linguistics Course

Published Feb 07, 2009

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Explore the structure and development of human language in MIT's introductory course on linguistics. Students who take the 'Introduction to Linguistics' OpenCourseWare learn how to analyze research on written and spoken language, discover both universal and language-specific structures and document the process of acquiring language. This free online course is taught at the undergraduate level and is well suited to students who plan to study Linguistics, Anthropology, Sociology or English.

Introduction to Linguistics: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes Yes

Introduction to Linguistics: Course Description

In the famous story of the Tower of Babel, the people of Babel were scattered all over the world and made to speak different languages. This isolated the people, but it also led to the growth of diverse cultures. This parable suggests a popular understanding that language is a universal human characteristic that unites people even while making them seem impossibly far apart. Language systems are extremely complex, yet they can all be broken down and understood in terms of basic common structures and laws. MIT's 'Introduction to Linguistics' introduces students to the formal study of the evolution and structure of human language. Basic linguistic concepts covered in the course include morphology, syntax, semantics, phonetics and phonology. Students also learn about the history, sociology and psychology of language, from childhood acquisition to the diversity of language between cultures. Finally, the course explores the relationship between spoken or signed languages and written languages. This introductory course on linguistics is taught in a lecture format by MIT Professor Suzanne Flynn.

'Introduction to Linguistics' includes detailed lecture notes, downloadable readings and problem sets, sample quizzes, exam study guides, guidelines for a suggested research project, study guides on subjects in linguistics and a long list of relevant links. If you'd like to learn more about language with this free online course, visit the introduction to linguistics course page.

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