Basic Theory of Second Language Acquisition – Associate Professor Junko TANAKA
I specialize in second language acquisition (SLA) theory. SLA is the process when people learn another language (second language) after learning their native language (first language), and I am constructing a theory to describe the universal trends seen. In comparison to almost everyone succeeding in acquiring a mother language, learners generally reach a low level of mastery in their second language. In addition large variations in the degree of success appear according to the individual. The causes of this include linguistic factors (similarities between the mother tongue and second language, the quality of study items), social factors, psychological factors and language learning aptitude, as well as individual differences such as personality. Combinations of several such factors are involved in second language acquisition and language information processing and we research factors that promote or cause stagnation of the learning process. In addition, SLA is also involved when considering language acquisition issues relating to the recent rapid increase of bilingualism in Japan (issues of newcomer infant language use inside and outside the home). The subject really is quite interesting.
Neurolinguistics – Associate Professor Ryoko HAYASHI
My original specialty was linguistics with a focus on German, but I have an interest in how the human voice is made or transmitted, and I’ve been studying this field as a part of linguistics science. In class we touch on what is going on in your mind when speaking and listening to a language. We also deal with language disorders and development, as well as the evaluation of foreign language speech, pronunciation and perception. Recently we have mainly analyzed the Japanese pronunciation of foreigners, and the English, German, etc. pronunciation of Japanese students. We are researching using experimental techniques on what kind of training methods and materials were used and how to improve pronunciation. Aside from this, we create video teaching materials in labs intended for foreign learners of Japanese through the Internet, and we are also disseminating these projects.
Information Data Construction Theory – Associate Professor Hidenari KIYOMITSU
Our research themes are in the field of databases, web information systems and information retrieval, but since all faculty support graduate studies and Master’s studies, the constraints related to research subjects are loose and not limited to IT communication fields. Research must be interesting and fun. An interesting graduation study in 2009 analyzed the comments and trackbacks of the blog “700 Days of Battle: Us vs. the Police” and considered the temporal changes of the community. The blog was turned into a paperback and then into a movie, and it became very famous. We expect to develop research to quantitatively determine whether a blog is likely to become a hit. In addition, we also hold hot-pot parties and have get-togethers like BBQs and sanma (pacific saury) parties!