Greetings, Overview and History

Greetings

Welcome to the homepage of the Graduate School of Language and Culture. In 2014, we announced a new revised set of educational objectives and policies, namely, our diploma policy, our curriculum policy, and our admission policy. Our educational objectives have been updated to emphasize flexible response to current issues in the field of language and culture, in keeping with developments in globalization and information technology. At the same time, we continue our efforts to optimize our system of education and research, with the aim of enabling our students to develop their professional expertise, deep learning, and analytical skills so as to make meaningful contributions to society at both local and global levels, as leaders in the fields of academia, culture, education, and industry.

Language and culture are extremely complex and multifaceted phenomena. How do people learn languages and learn to use them effectively? How does language function in the process of our perception of the world, or in the process of our communication of our thoughts and feelings? How does our awareness of language and culture affect the act of organizing groups of people? What roles do language and culture play in contemporary social trends such as globalization and multicultural diversity? How might research in language and culture contribute to cutting-edge data processing technology? And how should future generations be taught to comprehend language and culture?
These are just a few of the themes that are the focus of research in the Department of Language and Culture. The scope of research in this field is broad and interdisciplinary. But ultimately, it is also our responsibility to take a longitudinal approach in order to synthesize the results of this interdisciplinary research, to maintain theoretical consistency in our pursuit of the essence of language and culture.

The Graduate School of Language and Culture was founded in 1989, the first of its kind in Japan. The first major reorganization was done in 2005. The next major event was integration with Osaka University of Foreign Studies in 2007, followed by integration with the Center for World Languages in 2012. At each stage of evolution, we have endeavored to realize the best possible organization, ever aware of the need for constant transformation in the direction and form of our education and research. We are proud of the way our faculty and students collaborate with a healthy sense of competition and grateful for the many forms of cooperation and support that facilitate the progress of our continuing evolution.

Shigeo Kimura, Dean
April 2015
 

Overview

The Department of Language and Culture consists of seven programs: Comparative Studies in Language and Culture, Systems in Language and Culture, Contemporary Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Language and Communication, Education in Language and Culture, Linguistics and Language Informatics, and Language and Cognitive Sciences.

Members of our program of education and research analyze the mechanisms of languages and linguistic codes that enable effective communication among the various traditions and cultures of the world. We endeavor to develop basic linguistic theory as well as advanced skills in the utilization of linguistic and cultural information, natural language processing, and language engineering based on mathematical models and grammatical theory. Our goal is to establish a system of education and research that transcends traditional frameworks, to provide the best possible training for future leaders in the field.

We welcome students from diverse academic backgrounds who demonstrate the potential to make a positive contribution to intercultural communication. While encouraging them to build on the foundations they have already established, we guide them in the acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skills with a view toward the development of a broad interdisciplinary vision. Our curriculum is basically divided into the following three areas of instruction.

  • Area 1:Focus on Comparative Studies in Language and Culture, Systems in Language and Culture, and Contemporary Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies
  • Area 2:Focus on Language and Communication and Education in Language and Culture
  • Area 3:Focus on Linguistics and Language Informatics and Language and Cognitive Science

History

When the Graduate School of Language and Culture was first founded in April of 1989, it offered one master’s level course in Studies in Language and Culture. The doctoral program was founded in 1991. Since its inception, we have sought to develop a faculty of researchers with strong backgrounds in a broad range of disciplines, from humanities to social sciences to natural sciences, with the aim of establishing a collaborative interdisciplinary system of education and research to promote the development of a truly international information society.

The year 1991 further saw the formation of the Osaka University Society for the Study of Language and Culture, comprised of faculty and students of our School. The Society published its first journal in March of 1992. In 1994, our first cohort of doctoral students completed their course of study. In 2000, we launched our series of Collaborative Research Projects by faculty members working in teams with graduate students. Publication of the fruits of these joint research projects has now continued for over a decade.

In 2005, the School underwent a fundamental reorganization whereby the original Faculty of Language and Culture with its five programs was transformed into the current system with seven programs.

In October of 2007, Osaka University and Osaka University of Foreign Studies were integrated. The newly integrated Graduate School of Language and Culture now consists of two departments, the Department of Language and Culture and the Department of Language and Society.

In 2012, a third department was added as a result of integration with the World Language Center and named the Department of Japanese Language and Culture.

 

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