What is human language, and what way other animals communicate? How do children learn language? What can the study of language tell us about how the human mind works? These are some of the fundamental questions in the discipline of linguistics, which we will tour in this course. Throughout the course, we will be learning (in many different ways) that human language is a surprisingly intricate, yet law-governed and fascinating mental system. Except in case of severe brain damage, speaking a language is something that seems both effortless and intuitive for all adults. Similarly, any child can learn to speak any human language if the child is exposed to that language from an early age, with almost no direct teaching. [Reading and writing are a different matter!] And yet, a close look at any human language shows that it is an extremely sophisticated system. This suggests that there is something special about the human mind that makes it able to learn and use language. Linguistics is a science which aims to discover how human languages work (any language, not just English), and what it is about human minds that makes them able to learn and use language.