Registration now open for online “Languages of the World” course!

Feb 24, 2015 by


Registration now open for online “Languages of the World” course!

More than 6,000 languages are spoken in the world today, and their variety seems unbounded. This linguistic diversity tells us a lot about the development of human language and thought. It also serves as an important tool for understanding the history of human civilization and what it means to be human. In this course, we will examine how languages change and how historical relationships among languages can be ascertained. We will study how languages spoken today reveal the history of populations migrating, splitting, and interacting. We will investigate how languages around the globe differ in their sounds, words, and grammars and will address the question of whether the language one speaks affects how one thinks and perceives the world. We will learn that the variation among languages is not as unrestrained as it may seem to a casual observer, which will lead us to question why human languages evolved to be different yet not limitlessly so. Finally, we will become familiar with cutting-edge scholarship showing that language is not simply a means for communication but rather the essence of what makes us human.

This is an online course but not a MOOC. It has a limited enrollment (so don’t delay signing up!), allowing us to maintain a level of instructor engagement similar to on-campus courses through videos, interactive exercises, and discussion with the instructor and fellow students, as well as optional online video conferencing sessions. But unlike an on-campus class you can follow the course at your own pace, logging in for your weekly sessions from anywhere and whenever is convenient for you—a plus for students who lead busy lives or for whom regular travel to the Stanford campus is not possible.

To register, click here!


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