Courses and Divisions
Comparative Studies in Language and Culture
This course comparatively examines the various diachronic and synchronic aspects of language and culture that all countries, ethnic groups, and regions share. Along with investigating mutual common points and points of difference, we study the history of linguistic and cultural exchange between Japan and foreign countries, multilingualism and cultural transformation that resulted from contact with foreign languages and cultures, and the state of linguistic and cultural policies in the era of globalization. It also aims to deepen viewpoints for deciphering the linguistic and cultural situation of the world from both micro and macro perspectives.
Systems in Language and Culture
This course comprehensively and systematically investigates the integral relationship between language and culture and various related elements as a linguistic and cultural system. Specifically, it aims to study various theories on the correlation between language, culture, and society, to analyze codes and representational systems that reflect linguistic structure, and to study the ideas and community awareness of various linguistic and cultural groups. Through these investigations, we can gain perspectives for perceiving individual cultural phenomena and cultural groups in a more systematic framework.
Contemporary Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies
This course investigates modern cultural issues in various regions of the world from the viewpoints of how the traditional culture characteristic to each respective region transforms itself through contacts with foreign cultures, what kind of structural relationship gender differences have with language and culture, as well as from the perspectives of cultural industries, consumer cultures, movements in media culture, and so on. It also explores the directionality of a sophisticated cultural literacy that can adapt to interdisciplinary trends of culture in the era of globalization.
Language and Communication
This course examines the communication gap that occurs between different cultures in real society, aiming to fuse practical skills for suitable communication to overcome this gap together with theories derived from the standpoint of linguistics. It also investigates communication design competency and the internationality and linguistic and cultural literacy that make exchange possible in modern society where multilingualism and multiculturalism exist symbiotically.
Education in Language and Culture
This course develops language education methods that integrate theories on language acquisition and learning with practical activities of language use for occasions of international information exchange, such as document description, speech, translation, and interpretation. It also aims to apply these not only to foreign language education for Japanese, but also to Japanese education for foreigners, and lifelong learning as well as school education. The goal is to 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 exist symbiotically.
Linguistics and Language Informatics
This course investigates the structures and functions of language from the viewpoint of theoretical linguistics and language informatics. The course also provides a theoretical foundation for building a sophisticated natural language processing system. To that end, we take a multilateral approach from logical, mathematical, and computational standpoints, dealing with various issues at the intersection of different branches of linguistics such as phonology, lexicology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, as well as the relationship between language, human knowledge, and thought.
Language and Cognitive Sciences
This course explores the structures and processes of language abilities as one human cognitive mechanism through scientific perception of human cognitive systems from the viewpoint of language information processing—how humans recognize the outside world, acquire knowledge, and process various information. Additionally, regarding cognitive linguistics —which occupies such a position in linguistics—we conduct research that bridges and applies to both theoretical frameworks and specific linguistic research.
【Foreign Language Education and Research Division】
Division of English
The mission of the Division of English is education and research in English and English culture. Sophisticated English proficiency and cultural literacy that can contribute to global society are cultivated through cooperation among faculty members from diverse backgrounds.
This is not only done in English classes for first- and second-year students, but opportunities for cultivating high-level English abilities are provided to upper-class students as well. While there is an emphasis on exact English comprehension and appropriate proficiency for university students, new approaches are being introduced such as active learning and making use of ICT (Information-Communication Technology), and English education methods appropriate to current educational needs are being developed.
As our societal contribution, we offer active cooperation such as public lectures and English instructor re-licensing courses. Additionally, our “American Library,” which was established through an agreement with the U.S. Fulbright Foundation, provides easy access to mainstay books on American culture and literature for both researchers and students.
Division of German
The Division of German has organized a research system of the linguistics, literature, history, philosophy, German language education, and areas related to these in the German cultural sphere, which includes Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Recently, in addition to further enhancement of instruction methods through audiovisual media, we are also making efforts to develop new teaching materials and educational methods through computers.
This Division, along with enthusiastically promoting overseas training and study-abroad research for staff, also deepens exchange with related domestic research organizations, such as the German Cultural Center. Within the university, this Division bears the responsibility of the German language education courses of the general education curriculum for the entire university, and conducts a wide range of German classes from basic education to advanced proficiency.
Division of French
French is not only used as an official language in the country of France itself, but also in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and many countries in Africa. It occupies a position alongside English as an international language. It is also the language of a great number of excellent works of literature and philosophy. It plays the important role of technical terminology throughout the academic disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, and medicine. The Division of French is also responsible for Spanish, a language with the same Latin roots that is used widely throughout the world. →Homepage of the Division of French
Division of Russian
With respect for the traditions characteristic to Russian culture, and with the current background situation of remarkable developments in basic science and applied science in Russia in recent years, the Division of Russian strives to further enhance Russian language education and research as this necessity becomes greater and greater. Also, the Division is aiming for education that can respond to the deepening of political, economic, and cultural relationships since Perestroika.
Although the size of the staff at this Division is small, we are engaged in a wide range of research on topics such as the languages, culture, history, and society of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Because there are no other specialized research departments in these fields at this university, the Division is also a window for international exchange with these regions.
In terms of education, Russian is a relatively unfamiliar language among foreign languages that are first learned in university. Therefore, efforts are being made to develop a system that enables students to easily adjust to learning with minimal discomfort. Along with this, and in the same way as cases of learning other languages that are first learned in university, the Division is striving for improvement of student expressional abilities through the enhancement of conversation classes conducted by foreign faculty members (including one full-time Russian faculty member). →Homepage of the Division of Russian
Division of Chinese
Chinese is not only used in China, but throughout the world. The importance of Chinese education is increasing, and this is not only limited to politics or economics, but in terms of cultural exchange as well.
With subjects from ancient times to the present day, from the standard language to dialects, and furthermore even as far as the languages of minority groups, the Division of Chinese conducts active research and educational activities.
In terms of education, the Division strives to teach all aspects of reading, writing, listening, and speaking Putonghua, the standard language of the People’s Republic of China. In 2015, this Division newly welcomed one faculty member whose native language is Chinese, making the number of Japanese and Chinese faculty members equal. Through this move, more balanced education that makes good use of each faculty member’s special characteristics has become possible. In addition to Chinese faculty at this university, there are also many international students from China enrolled, so it has become a wonderful environment for students to actually use the Chinese that they have acquired.
Division of Classical Languages
The Division of Classical Languages is a division engaged in the education and research of classical Greek and Latin as part of the general education curriculum.
In various areas such as philosophy, history, literature, science, law and art, Greco-Roman culture has been the matrix of the fundamental spiritual heritage governing the present day world such as humanism, democracy, rationalism, and the scientific spirit.
To efficiently learn the Greek and Latin which form the basis of these, this Division researches methods for training the ability to decipher original texts, and is putting these into practice in educational settings.
Division of Korean
The predecessor of the Division of Korean is the Korean Language Education Division of the Language and Culture Department established in 1996. In the general education curriculum of the whole university, this Division is involved in the education and research of the language and culture of the Korean cultural sphere. In terms of education, Korean as a foreign language elective was offered in the educational lecture series (as subjects of the Undergraduate Schools of Letters and Human Sciences) that was established before 1995 and held until 2007. Since 2008, the Division has continued to be responsible for the courses of Foreign Language 2 and International Education 2 that involve Korean. Above all, after the change in position from Korean as a foreign language elective to that of Foreign Language 2 and International Education 2, a much clearer distinction has been drawn between our method of education and the mere routine and plain memorization of everyday conversation or the teaching of a mish-mash of small pieces of knowledge related to the popular culture of South Korea. Based on our new perspective that “the study of Korean is fundamental to scholarship at Japanese universities,” students comprehensively learn Korean itself while getting a more intimate feel for the culture of their neighbors. The Division aims to foster the ability to scientifically analyze this, and furthermore, the ability to scientifically perceive language overall. In terms of research, although an emphasis is placed on socio-linguistic research of Korean, the Division is striving for even further expansion, and to grasp the viewpoints of the various areas of the study of Korean.
Division of Italian
There is a wide demand for Italian among people who have an interest in Western literature, Western history, art, design, fashion, music, cuisine, and tourism.
Additionally, because it is relatively easy to learn as a language, it is a good method for accessing Western culture through a different path than German or French.
The Division of Italian is engaged in the education and research of Italian as part of the general education curriculum. The Division is putting forth an effort to construct teaching materials and educational methods that can respond to such wide-ranging demand.