I am a programmer who loves to learn online. Unfortunately, linguistics related materials are pretty scarce on the web.

Thus, could anyone point me to some good MOOCs or other free materials on (Computational) Linguistics? These are great MOOCs that I found until now:


I also faced the exact same problem. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be that many online resources for this field, and the existing ones aren't really that good (e.g. the one by Leiden University, like many other MOOCs, is just way too superficial and brief).

My suggestion is just to find good textbooks and read them. When there wasn't any MOOC online, programmers also learned a lot, by reading good materials. In fact I'd say they're likely to be more reliable than MOOCs in a lot of aspects, since top-quality MOOCs are really few, but you can pretty much guarantee that textbooks widely used and reviewed are written with care.

Here are two that I personally have used:

  • Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction, by Katamba, O'Grady, Archibald, Thomas: This is also used by the program at my current university to teach freshmen.
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language: Not really an introduction textbook, but presents all topics in linguistics concisely in all-color format. I found it generally easy-to-read and enjoyable.

You can surely find other books by searching online.

Of course you might argue that those resources aren't free. But I guess you have to realize that the current proliferation of free materials in programming is really not a norm yet in many other fields. And even in programming, to find really good materials you usually have to pay anyways.

  • Thank you for the books. Anyway, I don't agree that you have to pay for the best programming learning resources. The best courses on programming I have ever done (including my regular University courses) are free: Have a look at: coursera.org/learn/introduction-to-algorithms and coursera.org/learn/progfun1 – GA1 Jan 10 '17 at 11:06
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    I strongly agree with the textbook suggestion - you can get them for free at your local library anyway. BTW, most general intro textbooks don't give you a very good idea of what the field is like - once you've settled on subfield(s) you prefer, make sure to move on to subfield-specific intros like Givón's Syntax and Croft's Typology and Universals. :) – WavesWashSands Jan 10 '17 at 12:57
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    @GA1 Those are mostly introductory level courses. To really learn a field well you would want to rely on more expert-level resources. Also, even those are rarities compared with the massive amount of inferior-quality ones, and sometimes they even get taken down without notice. I think Coursera itself hasn't even figured out a viable long-term model. EdX resources are more stable than theirs. – xji Jan 10 '17 at 13:30
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    @GA1 Anyways, I don't think you can expect high-quality free MOOC to be the norm for every field in a short amount of time. What would be their motivation to do so after all? It's not exactly like people are so rich and resources are so abundant as to not worry at all about giving out massive amounts of their time and resources for free. They're all very busy with their own concerns and interests,. This can also be evidenced by the strong shift of emphasis to paid "certificates" on Coursera and even on EdX. – xji Jan 10 '17 at 13:30
  • Unfortunately, I think you might be right. Coursera/Edx movement into payed courses is disappointing... – GA1 Jan 10 '17 at 13:50

MIT's OpenCourseWare has a large number of linguistics courses. The are many on language theory and analysis (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics) and some on NLP.

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    MIT courses are good, but they are not as "complete" as the MOOCs that I proposed. – GA1 Jan 10 '17 at 11:02

There is the Virtual Linguistics Campus from Marburg University with lots of linguistics teaching videos.

  • This is indeed a great channel! – GA1 Jan 10 '17 at 11:04

Some can be found on Coorsy Linguistics topic, it shows online courses from several providers.

  • Those courses are more like language learning stuff, and they are also not free. I asked for MOOCs in the question. – GA1 Apr 27 '17 at 14:24

You can check the LLT Academia free platform which provides several courses in linguistics. You can study, take graded exams, submit assignments and earn a certificate of completion. All courses are offered free of cost.

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