Introduction to Linguistics

A baked clay tablet with Akkadian cuneiform.

One of the Amarna letters, first discovered in 1887, and written mostly in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia. (This image is in the public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2012



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course studies what is language and what does knowledge of a language consist of. It asks how do children learn languages and is language unique to humans; why are there many languages; how do languages change; is any language or dialect superior to another; and how are speech and writing related. Context for these and similar questions is provided by basic examination of internal organization of sentences, words, and sound systems. No prior training in linguistics is assumed.

Related Content

David Pesetsky. 24.900 Introduction to Linguistics, Fall 2012. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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