Ever been interested in language or linguistics, but not had the opportunity to study it? Would you like to learn about the fundamental tenets of linguistic theory in your own time, for free, but still put together by a prestigious university? Well, soon you will be able to! Linguist List made me aware of the Virtual Linguistics Campus, an initiative run by the Philipps University Marburg, which has a long and distinguished tradition in linguistics and philology. How you use it really depends on how keen you are, and whether you want to part with any cash. If you’re willing to cough up some money, you can do a whole degree online by the looks of things. However, there are also three courses that are offered FREE to every man and his dog, providing you set up an account (also free). These courses are:
Linguistics 101 – Fundamentals (for a general overview of linguistic theory assuming no background)
Linguistics 102 – Speech Science (for a more detailed introduction to Phonetics and Phonology)
Linguistics 103 – The Nature of Meaning (for a more detailed introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics)
I’ve registered and had a quick look, and the course overviews look really good. There’s no obligation to hand in anything, and since they’re free, you could just pick and choose from the resources you find interesting or useful. There are e-lectures and problem sets with solutions, all put together by top academics. It doesn’t get much better (especially when you’re not paying for it).
The only thing is – they’re not live yet. The courses will ‘go live’ on 15th September 2013, when I guess people will be able to work on them at their own pace. See this video for more information on Linguistics 101: