Crash Course Linguistics 1 (Introduction)

What is linguistics?

Week 1’s Crash Course Linguistics video introduces viewers to the field of linguistics and what language is.

Topics include gavagai, a broad overview of different levels of structure in language, and what makes language different from other types of communication. Closed captions are available in English.

For the next 15 weeks, we’ll be sharing additional links that are relevant to the topic of each Crash Course video, but for now let’s start with some meta resources: lists of linguistics YouTube channels, language and linguistics podcasts, and short single-topic videos by Tom Scott.

Another introductory resource is Kids these days aren’t ruining language, a 36-minute Lingthusiasm podcast episode, which is available wherever you prefer to find podcasts. A transcript is available here.

In future newsletters, we’ll also share an International Linguistics Olympiad puzzle that focuses on each week’s topic, as a way to encourage further practice. If you know high school students who are interested in linguistics, you can learn more about the various national Olympiad competitions here.

Coming next week: resources about morphology!

Thanks for joining us, and welcome to new Crash Course Linguistics viewers!

Liz, Gretchen, and Lauren

About Mutual Intelligibility

Mutual Intelligibility is a project to connect linguistics instructors with online resources, especially as so much teaching is shifting quickly online due to current events. It's produced by Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch, with the support of our patrons on Lingthusiasm. Our editor is Liz McCullough.

Mutual Intelligibility posts will always remain free, but if you have a stable income and find that they’re reducing your stress and saving you time, we're able to fund these because of the Lingthusiasm Patreon and your contributions there

For the 16 weeks of Crash Course Linguistics, Mutual Intelligibility will be sharing the video weekly, along with supporting resources. We will resume our regular link request and recommendations after the Crash Course Linguistics series. For more on how we usually operate, check out our about page.

If you have other comments, suggestions, or ideas of ways to help, please email