Division of Department of Integrated Human Sciences Department of Linguistics

“What is language?” We are searching in depth for the answer to the question

Linguistics tries to answer fundamental questions such as “What is human language, and how does it function?” Any language can become a subject of research, regardless of the number of speakers or the political and economic power behind it. One can of course settle on Japanese, but countless other options are available, from familiar English to almost unknown minor languages, and even sign language. While it is possible to study a single isolated language “as it is”, other approaches are available. For instance, you can trace the variations of language depending on the time period, region, social class, or communicative situation, or compare it with some other language. On the other hand, you can aim to deduce the universal traits of human language. As of late, many ambitious research projects have been started in the cutting-edge field of neurolinguistics, which aims to elucidate the mechanisms in the human brain responsible for the comprehension and production of language. All in all, neurolinguistics tries to explain how we are able to use language and why some people lose this ability.
We are waiting for students with strong interests in language and powerful imaginations to join our department.

Message from Senior


3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Shizuoka Prefectural Iwata-Minami

Recommended book : Mr. Table Tennis by Jōjima Mitsuru
Reason : I think that one of the ways to have an ideal life is to dedicate it entirely to sports. I would like all of you to read this book and learn the story of the assiduous and persistent player Ogimura Ichirō, who devoted himself to table tennis and earned the love of everyone around him.

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

The Faculty of Arts and Letter offers a wide range of areas to study; here, I think, lies its main appeal. Taking classes in different fields allows you to expand your outlook and, consequently, the range of future possibilities. To tell the truth, I intended to study Japanese history when I was in high school, but the lectures I attended as a first year student sparked my interest in other fields, and I struggled to make the final choice. Starting with my second year the number of classes in linguistics has increased, but I enjoy all of them, for they are all very engaging. People with multiple interests and those of you who have not yet decided what to do should join our faculty. As you continue discovering new fields and disciplines, your future options will grow in number!

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

It is important to keep your finger on the pulse of the times by watching news and reading newspapers and books. When you recognize something you already knew during the lecture, it becomes many times more enjoyable. Besides, people from all over Japan gather in Tohoku University. When you are looking for friends, a breadth of knowledge and an expansive collection of topics to discuss can be extremely useful. Another wonderful aspect of university life is that you do not only study in the classroom — you can learn just as much through your daily activities, by joining a club or finding a part-time job. Let the dream of four wonderful years in the land of Tohoku inspire your current efforts.