Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, is the world’s top university. According to the QS University Rankings, MIT was found to be the best university in the world in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The 2016 result is expected to be the same.
Studying at the world’s best university used to just be for a handful of elite students each year, but now MIT’s Open Courseware site is making world-class education available to all those with an internet connection. And there’s even better news for all those with an interest in professional translation: the site includes a tantalising array of linguistics courses.
MIT is offering undergraduate linguistics courses through its Open Courseware site (at the time of writing) on the following topics:
Introduction to Philosophy of Language
Introduction to Linguistics
Language and its Structure I: Phonology
Language and its Structure II: Syntax
Language and its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics
Linguistic Studies of Bilingualism
Topics in Linguistic Theory: Propositional Attitudes
Topics in Linguistic Theory: Laboratory Phonology
Topics in Linguistics Theory
Topics in Linguistics: Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities
Linguistic Theory and the Japanese Language
A range of graduate courses is also available, including:
Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity
The Lexicon and Its Features
Grammar of a Less Familiar Language
Language Disorders in Children
Language Acquisition I
Introduction to Syntax
Argument Structure and Syntax
Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory
Introduction to Phonology
Topics in Phonology: Phonetic Realization
Topics in Phonology
Laboratory on the Physiology, Acoustics, and Perception of Speech
Topics in Semantics
Courses vary in length, content and difficultly level. The syllabuses, assignment details, lecture slides and more can all be viewed on the MIT site. Course materials can be downloaded, as well as viewed online.
Such a huge resource is incredibly valuable for all those with an interest in linguistics. The courses available cover a huge range of topics, from linguistic theory to practical matters.
For professional translators, the courses are likely to be relevant on both a professional and a personal level. Subjects such as Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities or Linguistic Theory and the Japanese Language will no doubt be of particular professional interest to translators who work with those languages, while the Language and Its Structure series of courses may well appeal to translators of all languages.
MIT’s Open Courseware may also appeal on a personal level. Many translators have a keen interest in linguistics and topics such as Abnormal Language, Language Disorders in Children and Language Acquisition may well pique many individuals’ interest as part of their personal development.
Personal and professional development of this nature bring with them a host of benefits. Research has shown that lifelong learning can keep the mind active and curious, regardless of an individuals’ age or employment status. It increases knowledge, helps individuals to grow with and adapt to the changing world around them and enables people to contribute more meaningfully to society.
As if that weren’t enough, lifelong learning also offers the opportunity for self-fulfilment and the enjoyment of a multi-dimensional life. So next time you have a spare half an hour on your hands, why not browse through the MIT Open Courseware site and see which of the courses takes your fancy? After all, who can resist the opportunity to study at the best university in the world?
When did you last complete a linguistics course? Was it for personal or professional reasons? Share your experiences via the comments.