Overview of the Department
Our goal at the Department of English Language & Literature is to help our students gain understanding of others and the world around them by using English. Fostering our students’ abilities to communicate in English, we help them understand linguistics, literature, and culture, giving them the international perspectives needed to succeed. Our literature courses cover not only important authors, works, and critical theories, but also look into cultures, histories, and social thought. Our English linguistics courses theoretically and systematically analyze the structures and meanings of English. Higher-level students can choose classes to delve deeper into their area of study. Courses are also available on teaching Japanese. Students can write graduation theses in the following fields: English Linguistics, British Literature, American Literature, English Education, Japanese Education, and Humanities.
In the field of English Linguistics, students learn about the vocabulary, phonetics, grammar, semantics, conversation, information structures, etc., of English based on a linguistic foundation, in order to create a deeper understanding of modern English. Students also compare and contrast English and Japanese to discover the relationships between human cognition and language.
In the field of English Literature, students learn about the thoughts, society, history, and culture of England to better understand the works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney — a rich culture of literature spanning over 1000 years.
In the field of American Literature, students examine novels, plays, and poems to learn not just about the works themselves, but also about the relationships between the works and the thought, history, culture, and society of the time. Students will also utilize analyses of specific works to further their understanding of the work in question and literature in general.
We all have experience of learning and/or teaching languages, and we may have fixed ideas of how it should be done. Perhaps some of us also have fixed beliefs, for example that “I am bad at languages.” The starting point for the English Education field is to question these beliefs and to investigate how people can learn English or other foreign languages effectively. That involves looking not only at our own experiences, but also at those of experienced teachers. We also look at the research that has already been done in linguistics, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, e-learning, and related fields. Students learn how to read research, and how to do their own. That may mean doing a survey, observations, experiments, or creating and testing materials.
English Education is naturally of interest to those wishing to become teachers, but also suitable for those simply wishing to improve their own learning of English and other languages.
In the field of Japanese Education, students research the techniques and issues involved in teaching the Japanese language to non-native speakers. Students in our department who choose to do their graduation thesis in this field receive joint supervision from the Japanese Education specialist in the Department of Japanese Language & Literature and an applied linguistics/SLA/EFL specialist in the Department of English Language & Literature.
In the field of Humanities, students receive a diverse education, stemming from comparative and comprehensive expertise in English Linguistics, British/American Literature, and English Education that is expanded to the fields of philosophy, psychology, education, history, linguistics, and numerous literature styles and cultures.