Subject Synopses (Master Course)

Common Courses

Introduction to Research Practice

In this class, students will establish a firm foundation in research practice, with a focus on academic ethics, survey methodology, and writing and presentation skills, especially in connection with the master’s thesis.
*Note: This is a required class. It is held on Monday, fifth period, in the spring term of the first year of the master’s course.

Seminar in Academic Presentation

This class is designed to develop skills in presenting logical, organized presentations. Instruction will be geared toward concrete methods of writing and presenting the master’s thesis, including rehearsal of the midterm thesis presentation.
*Note: This is a required class. It is held on Monday, fifth period, in the summer term of the second year of the master’s course.

Special Language Class

This special language class is open to students in all Studies in Language and Culture programs. Students will receive training in a language other than their first language, enabling them to use the target language for advanced academic research, including surveys, overseas training, academic writing, and conference presentations. Classes will be taught by native speakers of the target language, with a focus on reading, academic writing, and presentation skills.

1. Comparative Studies in Language and Culture

Comparative Studies in Language and Culture

The historical transitions in language and culture in every region of the world, and the current reality of these, are better clarified through comparative perspectives and methods. In this course, the various aspects of the language and culture of every country, ethnic group, and region are comparatively studied from both diachronic and synchronic viewpoints, and the common points and points of difference in each of these languages and cultures are investigated. Additionally, emphasis is placed on the phenomenon whereby specific languages and cultures acquire a wide-ranging or international expanse transcending the framework of nations or ethnic groups, and the process of how this kind of universalization occurs is studied from comparative linguacultural viewpoints.

Linguistic and Cultural Exchange

The main focus in this course is the various aspects of the linguistic and cultural exchanges that have developed since the Meiji period between Japan and foreign countries and regions. Specifically, emphasis is placed on the form in which these exchanges have advanced in various fields such as language education, literature, culture and civilization, drama, journalism, scientific technical terminology, and everyday language, as well as how these exchanges have been helpful for mutual understanding, and how they have changed each respective language and culture. Ultimately, the goal is to approach an ideal vision of linguistic and cultural exchange in an era where multiculturalism and multilingualism exist in harmony.

Linguistic and Cultural Changes

In countries, ethnic groups, and regions that are conventionally considered to have formed one linguistic and cultural sphere, we actually observe that contacts with foreign languages and cultures have brought about situations of multiple language use and cultural changes, in addition to the transformations in linguistic and cultural awareness that come along with that. In this course, the process of these kinds of linguistic and cultural changes is investigated through diverse perspectives such as the ideal and the reality of multiculturalism, the phenomenon of the hybridization of ethnic languages and cultures, the process of the formation of universal language and culture, and furthermore, through the various issues that multi-ethnic and immigrant societies in all regions of the modern world are confronting.

Policies in Language and Culture

The nature of language and culture in each country and region of the world has been greatly influenced by activities for determining its political direction as well as by the policies of language and culture that are the results of those activities. The importance of such aspects is unlikely to decrease in the future. Therefore, in this course, as an aid in building the linguistic and cultural future of Japan in the era of globalization, language planning and language and culture policies in multilingual and multi-ethnic societies in all regions of the world—as well as the practical application of these—are studied and examined, as well as the influence that the political, diplomatic, and economic international environment has on these.

2. Systems in Language and Culture

Systems of Language and Culture

The progress of globalization in the modern world makes it more and more difficult to separate and perceive individual languages and cultures in isolation. Instead, what is coming to hold more importance is the complex relationship between language and culture and the various elements surrounding them, such as the relationship between language and culture and political or economic factors, as well as the relationship between national and ethnic culture and globalization. The aim of this course is to build viewpoints for comprehensively and systematically perceiving these kinds of relationships as systems of language and culture.

Theory of Language and Culture

From trends in cultural criticism in recent years called “the linguistic turn,” it is clear that there is recognition of the pivotal function that language plays within the formation of culture and society. Among trends such as those, various cultural theories that pursue the correlation between language, culture, and society have been adopted, such as structuralism, post-structuralism, postmodernism, and cultural studies. While examining the feasibility and problematic points of those theories from contemporary viewpoints, the aim of this course is to build a comprehensive and systematic theory of language and culture.

Methodology of Cultural Analysis

The domain of linguistic and cultural studies in the modern area has demonstrated tendencies to expand—from a narrow sense as being a linguistic product to various types of symbolic representation and representational systems. Taking such tendencies into account, in this course, methods are explored for analyzing cultural phenomena based on language, codes that reflect linguistic structures, and furthermore, each type of representational system. Specifically, with reference to academic disciplines such as linguistics, linguistic philosophy, semiotics, social theory, and psychoanalysis, the various functions that language and culture play in human society are systematically explored.

Formation of Public Culture

In modern times, a situation has arisen where globalization and localization coexist while struggling for supremacy in one linguistic and cultural environment. In this course, the process of the formation of various types of linguistic and cultural groups is analyzed from diachronic and synchronic points of view with awareness of this context. Taking international agencies and federations of nations, national organizations, NGOs, regional communities, public cultural organizations, and smaller scale public and private cultural groups as examples, we examine the kinds of ideals and awareness that these linguistic and cultural communities were based on when coming into formation.

3. Contemporary Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Contemporary Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Cross-regional, cooperative relationships with various other regions are necessary if so-called developed countries such as Japan aim to fulfill an appropriate international role in this multicultural era of the coexistence and cooperation. In this course, along with discussing the issues of these various regions from the perspective of the correlation between the local traditional culture and foreign cultures within a unique geopolitical location, the ideal way to understand foreign language and culture when establishing inter-regional cooperative relationships is investigated, and a sophisticated linguistic and cultural literacy for building cooperative cross-cultural relations is instilled.

Gender Studies

With a foundation of research on feminism, gender, and sexuality, various issues that manifest themselves in culture and society—or the underlying constructs of gender differences that exist there—are analyzed and studied. Directing attention to all areas of life, such as language, media, art, school education, labor, and families, as well as international activities such as development, international cooperation, and government, the aim of this course is to train experts equipped with a sophisticated linguistic and cultural literacy that can contribute to the gender-equal society of the future free of preconceived notions.

Media Studies in Language and Culture

In the modern world, in addition to traditional products of language and culture through characters or sounds, linguacultural products through information media such as TV, films, newspapers, magazines, and the internet have developed on a global scale and in a complex way. All these forms of media are having an enormous influence on language and culture in various regions of the world. The new possibilities and problematic points of this linguacultural media are examined through from diverse points such as their linguistic and representational functions, as well as the confluent relation they have with societal aspects. The direction of a new media literacy in the next generation is also explored.

Contemporary Cultural Dynamics

Modern urban environments and cultural industries have produced various urban cultures such as consumer culture, popular culture, and subcultures. These have come to constitute the current cultural situation, while going through dialectical conflict with traditional society and culture. In this course, along with observing and analyzing the movements of such linguacultural formation through fieldwork, the mutual correlation between various societal conditions and language and culture is comprehensively studied, based on cultural theories such as cultural anthropology, social theory, and cultural studies.

4. Language and Communication

Language and Communication

In this course, we work towards clarification of the mechanisms of communication through language. For that purpose, we study the reality of the communication gap that occurs between foreign languages and cultures through contrastive studies and international comparison of language behavior within various languages. We also investigate the processes as well as factors that are realized by forms of communication that successfully overcome various gaps due to cultural backgrounds, societal factors, and individual attributes. Additionally, in order to ensure the promotion of mutual understanding between foreign languages and cultures, we endeavor to instill a sense of international and linguacultural literacy which will most effectively promote effective global communication.

Theory of Language Use

In this course, we investigate the relation between language ability and language proficiency, based on phonetics, phonology, lexicology, and syntax. Along with analyzing the data that language proficiency is actually based on from the standpoints of semantics and pragmatics, as well as studying the structure of speech and discourse, the aim of this course is to clarify the human cognitive abilities and mechanisms which are the driving force behind all of these. In order to develop language abilities for the consensus building and communication that is necessary for mutual understanding, theories that form the basis of language proficiency are constructed, beginning with the way of assembling the information necessary for realizing communication, and presentation methods. Attention is also paid to the development of communication design skills.

Studies in Language Skills

Along with gathering and analyzing a wide range of materials on the true conditions of various methods that are used in actual situations of communication, students in this course learn about techniques and theories for realizing sophisticated language communication between foreign cultures. Also, students conduct research into techniques and theories for realizing sophisticated communication among people for whom Japanese is a second language, and examine the basic conditions for Japanese to function as an international language. Furthermore, research guidance is provided so that students can analyze audio-visual data and apply diverse expressional techniques to educational practices.

Sociolinguistics

In this course, we debate the fundamental theories of sociolinguistics, which studies language within a societal context. Students are guided in the reality of linguistic research based on this correlative relationship. We regard communication such as conversation as societal activity, and take a micro approach to analyze the interaction that takes place there. Also, we decipher various issues and complex aspects in the correlative relation between language and society as an interdisciplinary field that integrates linguistics and sociology, from diverse perspectives such as a macro approach for analyzing language diversity in the correlation between various societal factors, beginning with the societal attributes of speakers.

5. Education in Language and Culture

Education in Language and Culture

In this course, we study the systems and basic issues of education in language and culture, beginning with analysis relating to various issues such as the fundamental relationship between language and culture, societal factors within language education, the relationship between native language education and foreign language (second or foreign languages) education, the positioning of language education within general education activities, the role of language education in understanding foreign cultures and global education, and the academic qualities of language education.. Additionally, we investigate the state of language education that lays the foundation for a deep understanding of language and culture in modern society where multilingualism and multiculturalism coexist in harmony.

Methodology in Foreign Language Teaching

In this course, we study methods as systematized procedures in teaching, and specific instructional techniques, including the use of technologies, along with analyzing the theoretical foundations of assorted teaching methods in foreign and second language education, referring to related fields such as linguistics, psychology, and pedagogy. Additionally, from both theoretical and practical angles, we study teaching materials in foreign and second language education, the arrangement of teaching materials and the composition of lesson content in syllabi, and testing, which is the foundation of evaluation.

Language and Representation

Focusing on everyday language and linguistic representation made into text, both choice of expression by the speaker and the inference of the listener, we analyze the composition of communication and texts that are constructed in a multi-tiered manner. The aim of this course is to contribute to research in communication for a barrier-free society, not only on an interpersonal level, but within the context of the society and culture. Additionally, we seek to improve language proficiency in actual situations at times of international information exchange, such as document description, speech, translation, and interpretation, and moreover to train highly specialized professionals in these fields.

Applied Linguistics

In this course, we focus on the significance and methods of foreign language education, and investigate theories and practices for applying to language education the results of a wide variety of fundamental research in linguistics. We analyze relationships such as the one between language usage and life behavior patterns, as well as the relationship between nonverbal and verbal behavior in the process of language learning. We multilaterally examine the reality of language instruction—including teaching methods, curricula, and teaching materials—while also incorporating historical and international perspectives on practical theories relating to language learning. Furthermore, we approach the question of how language can be learned more effectively from a practical aspect.

Applied Studies in Multimedia

Based on the current situation where the usage of multimedia is increasing in the world of artistic expression, education, and all types of media, in this course, we construct a foundation for utilizing multimedia techniques in research and education, such as research and development of multimedia teaching materials, as well as presentation techniques that use multimedia or digital processing including written documents, videos, and audio. We investigate techniques and promote the development of linguacultural literacy to enable effective response to the age of computerization.

6. Linguistics and Language Informatics

Linguistics and Language Informatics

From the viewpoint of language informatics, this course seeks to clarify and understand the structures and functions of language, which constitutes a major portion of human activity. Based on this understanding, we seek to construct effective mechanisms and methodology relating to the various uses of language. To that end, drawing upon various branches of linguistics such as phonology, lexicology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics—and the various issues relating to interaction or interface with these, as well as the relationship between language and human knowledge and thinking—we take a multilateral approach from logical, mathematical, and computational standpoints.

Theoretical Linguistics

Beginning with generative grammar, in this course we conduct a wide range of research in theoretical linguistics, centered on syntax and lexical semantics. Investigating inter-lingual contrastive studies between Japanese, English, and various additional languages as well, we conduct research centered on syntactic and semantic perspectives. Additionally, we advance research regarding various issues concerning language learning from the viewpoint of theoretical linguistics. Regarding linguistics as the science of natural language, we treat various topics of theoretical linguistics, including issues of methodology such as how to construct scientific arguments within language research.

Theory of Linguistic Structure

This course focuses on analysis and modeling of linguistic structures, while adopting a formal approach towards language centered mainly on generative grammar and formal semantics. Centering on semantic viewpoints in particular, we advance research not only into the universal aspects in language, but also explication of the linguistic structures of individual languages, starting with Japanese and English. To this end, we also provide a methodological foundation and place emphasis on formal logic. Additionally, we actively adopt semantic research into discourse, and investigate its application to advanced natural language processing.

Corpus Linguistics

To establish a solid theoretical foundation for corpus research on language, the course in Corpus Linguistics provides an overview of mathematical and statistical methods tailored to retrieve linguistic information from corpora. Students can learn basic concepts of corpus linguistics from corpus compilation criteria and text encoding initiatives to linguistic annotation, including part-of-speech tagging, syntactic parsed trees, and advanced textual mark-ups. This course further provides training in advanced topics in corpus linguistics such as register variation, diachronic changes in language use, text typology, stylometry or computational stylistics, and indexing and lexicography. Students are also provided with an opportunity to develop further programming skills that facilitate text encoding and processing, as well as statistical text mining.

Experimental Linguistics

Beginning with an approach that perceives human linguistic information processing at the level of perception and cognition, in this course we conduct research into Experimental Linguistics with a primary focus on sounds. Research is advanced by actually conducting various language experiments, and the theory and reality of each measurement method associated with the experiments is also learned. Furthermore, we clarify the differences in pronunciation between native and non-native speakers in phonetic experiments, and extract information that is useful to foreign-language learning. Our work is also conducted with a view towards applications for foreign language education and spoken language processing by machines.

Natural Language Processing

The aims of this course are to provide an overview of current techniques and theoretical foundations for processing natural language using computers. We explore foundational linguistic theories from the viewpoint of computation theory, and examine their realization through representative computational algorithms. Additionally, we discuss mathematical and logical methods used in the analysis of linguistic resources such as corpora, as well as the construction and use of linguistic resources including dictionaries and syntactic rulesets. Finally, students are encouraged to explore linguistic and computational tasks through familiar applications such as search engines and machine translation systems in order to better understand the current boundaries of natural language understanding.

7. Language and Cognitive Sciences

Language and Cognitive Science

How do humans recognize the world, acquire knowledge, and process various information? Through scientifically perceiving human cognitive systems from the perspective of language information processing, we treat the structures and activities of language ability as one human cognitive mechanism. Additionally, regarding cognitive linguistics—which occupies such a position in linguistics—we perform research and education that bridges and applies to theoretical frameworks and specific linguistic research. Furthermore, we continue to investigate what kind of approach is possible for contrastive studies between languages from the standpoint of cognitive linguistics.

Cognitive Linguistics

In this course, we treat cognitive linguistic methodology as a field that has applied the methods of cognitive science to linguistic research. We focus on current studies in linguistics based on human cognitive systems. With a wide view of the various theoretical frameworks of cognitive linguistics, we comprehensively deal with cognitive linguistics overall, including fields such as construction grammar. We also investigate research in specific languages such as Japanese, English, and French as one central theme through the framework of cognitive linguistics. Furthermore, we vigorously advance research relating to the theoretical framework itself of cognitive linguistics.

Cognitive Semantics

The focus of this course is the semantics and pragmatics of natural language from the perspective of cognitive linguistics. Regarding the various aspects involved in the process of semantic construal of language, we conduct wide-ranging studies into the structures and functions of inference, beginning from the meaning of language form itself. The aim of the course is to clarify mechanisms of semantic construal of language, and to more broadly clarify human cognitive abilities and mechanisms. Additionally, we advance new research from the viewpoint of cognitive linguistics into semantical issues within first and second language acquisition, as well as contrastive studies on mechanisms of semantic construal in different languages.

Studies in Cognitive Rhetoric

In this course, we widely explore human cognitive mechanisms, focusing on rhetoric and meaning as phenomena that are deeply involved in important aspects of human mental activities. From the perspective of cognitive linguistics, we advance research into the various mechanisms of semantic production, such as metaphor and metonymy. Additionally, regarding diachronic research of language, we advance research that adopts the viewpoints of the formation of new mechanisms of semantic production. The aim of the course is to clarify, from the framework of cognitive linguistics, the synchronic and diachronic dynamism of natural language, and furthermore, the pan-chronic dynamism that integrates both approaches.

 

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