Division of Department of Global Humanities Department of English Linguistics

The English language through the lens of modern linguistics

To specialize in English linguistics means to study various aspects of the English language within the framework of modern linguistics. Sub-areas of the discipline describe the structure of language on different levels: syntax explores mechanisms of sentence formation; phonology studies the systematic organization of sounds; semantics is concerned with the meanings of words and sentences. Pragmatics focuses on the ways English is used in real communicative acts, and functional linguistics addresses the role the language plays in information transmission. In addition, English linguistics becomes an irreplaceable tool in other areas of research and education, including contrastive studies of English and Japanese, teaching English as a foreign language, the acquisition of first and second languages, brain and cognitive sciences, among others.
High English proficiency is an absolute requirement for a researcher in English linguistics. In addition to courses in linguistics, we provide classes on advanced translation and courses in academic English writing taught by native speakers in order to improve our students' reading, writing, and speaking skills. In recent years, more and more students have been participating in various exchange programs to improve their English. A range of opportunities are available to specialists in English linguistics: our former students become teachers and civil servants, work in mass communications, in the private sector, and in other jobs. Furthermore, every year some of the students enter graduate school to pursue advanced research.

Message from Senior

SATO Kazuya

3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Iwate Prefectural Kurosawajiri-Kita

Recommended book : Tanken! Kotoba no Sekai by Ōtsu Yukio
Reason : The discipline of linguistics might appear complicated, but this introduction written in a light conversational manner and interspersed with funny comic strips makes it accessible to everyone. This excellent book will prove an entertaining read regardless of your initial interest in the topic.

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

I think it is great that there are twenty five departments at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and freshmen have the whole year to decide which major is the most attractive. Until their second year they can select from the General Education curriculum any course that seems interesting, and by doing so, first-years gradually learn about each discipline and field of study. Not only is this “broad and shallow” education style interesting, it also proves useful.
Another amazing point about the Faculty of Arts and Letters is that it attracts people from all over Japan – indeed, from all over the world. Lots of valuable and new encounters await you here.

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

I would like to encourage everyone who intends to enter the Faculty of Arts and Letters to study English as diligently as possible. I am not saying this as a member of the Department of English Linguistics. Whatever major you choose, you will frequently have to read untranslated specialized literature, and to do so you need to be a proficient English user. I really would like you to practice English every day, regardless of the department you wish to join.
I started with studying, but of course students engage in many other activities too, as they join clubs and circles, find part-time jobs, and work as volunteers. In Tohoku University you can live a truly rich life as a student. I hope you will try your hardest to join us. We are eagerly waiting for you.