Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University

Division of Linguistic Studies

The division of Linguistic Studies is divided into three programs, and research is focused on analysis of language and educational systems with an emphasis on the Japanese language.

Linguistic Studies
Japanese LinguisticsJapanese Linguistics
Applied Japanese LinguisticsApplied Japanese Linguistics


Linguistics as a science aims to describe and explain how language is organized, and linguists study specific facts about particular languages to gain insight into the properties and processes common to all languages.

The Department of Linguistics offers instruction in linguistics to those studying for a B.A.,M.A. or Ph.D. The linguistics program at Tohoku University emphasizes theoretical approaches in all areas of linguistics and provides a grounding in five core areas of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics and historical linguistics. Advanced courses are offered in the major branches of linguistics, including minimalist syntax,generative phonology and morphology, pragmatics, comparative linguistics and corpus linguistics. Students may also be encouraged to take related course work in the Department of English Linguistics, Japanese Linguistics, Japanese Language Education, Sociology, and Psychology.

The faculty are involved in synchronic research on Oriental languages and diachronic research on Western languages. Students graduating from the Department of Linguistics will have developed knowledge and skills appropriate to a wide range of subsequent careers.

Japanese Linguistics

Our department has studied the Japanese language from the past to the present from the viewpoint of linguistics. Our studies include analytical research of dialects of various areas of Japan and historical and theoretical research of practical uses of language in the Heian, Kamakura, Muromachi, Edo periods as well as modern times. Our group has made a long and outstanding contribution to the study of dialects and dialectology. This includes work in such fields as phonology, grammar, graphology, stylistics and lexicology.

Students from overseas are required to gain a good working knowledge of both classical and modern Japanese even if they intend to major only in the latter. They should also be clear as to the actual objectives of their research as well as have the ability to write and read the Japanese language.

Applied Japanese Linguistics

This program is designed for students who wish to major in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language. Students must, of course, know Japanese, and they will also learn about the Japanese people and culture, as well as explore effective methods of teaching. Throughout the program of study, they will acquire a deep understanding of people from other cultures,mastering cross-cultural communication skills in the process.

Graduate students from abroad are required to have: 1) a near-native command of Japanese, 2) a thorough linguistic knowledge of their native language, 3) a background in basic statistics, and 4) computer literacy.

Short-term students (e.g. special auditing students) are not necessarily expected to have an interest in teaching Japanese, although having such an interest would be to their advantage.

To the Home Page

Inquiry and message
All Rights Reserved. COPYRIGHT(C) 2004
Graduate School/Faculty of Arts and Letters
Tohoku University
Aoba-ku, Kawauchi 27-1
980-8576 Sendai, Japan