Greetings, Overview and History

Greetings

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 the integration of Osaka University with Osaka University of Foreign Studies in October, 2007. Since then, the Language and Culture degree program has been one of the three degree programs of the Graduate School of Language and Culture, together with the Language and Society program and the Japanese Language and Culture program.

The world has been experiencing rapid changes since the advent of Covid-19 prompting us to reconsider the true meaning of face-to-face communication and what we have been taking for granted. Taking the example of how hospital-quarantined Covid-19 infected patients could “talk” to their family from individualized rooms using computer devices, this is different from speaking with someone intuitively in person. Communication entails various forms including detecting signals given by the interlocutor’s slight neck movements, change of focus of eyesight, and activities of the human mind beyond ‘words.’ It might be difficult to detect the essence of communication during virtual meetings. In these times, it is therefore paramount to understand the human mind by advancing science technology and conducting fundamental research in the humanities which surpasses the boundaries of existing academic disciplines. The Studies in Language and Culture degree program is not limited by individual research disciplines of language and culture. Rather, it aims to gain understanding of the human mind by encouraging collaboration between students and researchers of difference languages and cultures in creating new knowledge through conducting longitudinal and cross-disciplinary research. Furthermore, by including integrated arts and sciences disciplines such as the digital humanities, the Studies in Language and Culture degree program is able to conduct more educational research in applied research fields such as foreign language education which is based on the results of foundational research of the human mind.

The Studies in Language and Culture degree program underwent reconstruction and brought forth three disciplines consisting of six study fields : Discipline 1 (Interdisciplinary Cultural Formations, Culture and Representation), Discipline 2 (Sociolinguistic and Communication Sciences, Second Language Education), and Discipline 3 (Theoretical Linguistics and Digital Humanities, Language and Cognitive Sciences). By emphasizing collaboration across disciplines with educational and research activities, the Studies in Language and Culture degree program encourages research, education, and the holding of events between the six fields while furthering robust communication between all the fields. In order to maximize students’ educational potentials, while students are required to take mandatory classes in research methodology and research ethics to become professional researchers, there are no minimum credit requirements in each field of study. For research supervision, all students are assigned two supervisors, but there is a group supervision system in place, by which all students can seek research guidance from any member of the faculty.

The current “with Covid-19” and “after Covid-19” smart tech society needs researchers of different fields with new knowledge gained from basic humanity research, as well as professionals with high levels of sophistication. In accordance with the diploma policy of the Studies in Language and Culture degree program, we aim to provide education to cultivate human resources needed by the modern society by developing students’ ability to comprehend literature, contribute to research, and to provide them with an ample amount of knowledge in language education, communication theory, and information technology as well as the ability to develop new humanity perspectives.

Yoichi Miyamoto, Program Chair
April 2021
 

Overview

The Department of Language and Culture consists of six programs: Interdisciplinary Cultural Formations, Culture and Representation, Sociolinguistic and Communication Sciences, Second Language Education, Theoretical Linguistics and Digital Humanities, 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 Interdisciplinary Cultural Formations and Culture and Representation
  • Area 2:Focus on Sociolinguistic and Communication Sciences and Second Language Education
  • Area 3:Focus on Theoretical Linguistics and Digital Humanities and Language and Cognitive Sciences

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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