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English Linguistics

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Since the start of the department, a natural merger of synchronic and diachronic research of English from the empirical and theoretical aspects has been the foundation of our research and education. It is very rare that such a principle has been maintained throughout a department. Our unique characteristics have been widely recognized by related academic societies both in Japan and overseas.
English is one of the Germanic languages and has undergone a unique transition throughout its history. For example, after the Norman Conquest in 1066, French was the language used by the ruling class in Great Britain for approximately 140 years. Now, English has become a "common language" across the world and as a result, various dialects have emerged. This makes it more important to take both the synchronic and diachronic approach in research.
When the outline of the theory of generative grammar advocated by an American linguist, Noam Chomsky, was first introduced in the late 20th century, the focus of linguistic studies shifted to the internal structure of the human brain that enables the real use of language. The research of English also shifted from the external use of the language by native speakers to the field of cognitive science that peruses the internal language ability of human beings. Our department has also paid close attention to this transition and while continuing research of general language theory, historical electronic corpus as well as modern English electronic corpus has been introduced to aim to merge the synchronic and diachronic approaches to research.
In the field of theoretical research, we have much interaction with American researchers. We also frequently collaborate with European researchers in the research of English linguistic history and electronic corpus.

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