2020 Special Lecture : Language and Culture

Font size  SML

Register update notification mail Add to favorite lecture list
Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Akama Hiroyuki  Sato Reiko  Yamamoto Hilofumi 
Class Format
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

This course offers opportunities to help students to be interested in language and linguistics as a preliminary and introductory course provided before the course series of Linguistics A, B and C. In each class one problem are raised from three branches of linguistics for initiating students' interest in language through discussion and practice. During the sessions for applied linguistics, the phenomenon of second language acquisition and second language learning are discussed. During the course for phonetics and phonology, students examine how the sounds of language are described by practically uttering each sound of Japanese. The session for semantics deals with delicate issues such as arbitrariness and fictive motion.
This course aims to let students acquire preliminary insights into the theory and practice of language, prepare for the subsequent learning of the relevant courses on linguistics, and take the initial steps in the language sciences which are more systematic and comprehensive.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:
-Become aware of the importance of linguistics and language sciences.
-Realize pleasures and difficulties in the study of language.
-Have an understanding of fundamental issues in linguistics.


language, linguistics, phonetics, phonology, semantics, second language acquisition

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The sub-discipline of linguistics will change every two lessons. In every lesson, one problem is raised to be solved through discussion and practice to let students become familiar with linguistics.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Applied linguistic (1) Solve this problem. What is the difference between first language acquisition and second language acquisition?
Class 2 Applied linguistic (2) Solve this problem. What are the factors that affect language learning?
Class 3 Phonology(1) Solve this problem. What is the difference between phonetics and phonology?
Class 4 Phonology(2) Solve this problem. The relationship between the spelling and pronunciation of Japanese words is not always straightforward. Can you provide a necessary phonetic representation of the following words? : (Oo-Okayama, Osama), (seetaa, seito), (oneesan, oniisan), (Shimbun, denpa, kanmiryo).
Class 5 Semantics(1) Solve this problem. Why is "renzu-mame" (lentil) derived from "renzu" (lens)? "renzu-mame" should be much older than "renzu."
Class 6 Semantics(2) Solve this problem. "The highway runs through the valley." But isn't it cars that run?
Class 7 Semantics(3) Solve this problem. When you heard that "he threw away his job," is the arm area activated in the motor cortex of your brain?

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


We will not use any textbooks. This course places emphasis on the discussion for initiating the interest of language, linguistics and language sciences.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Supplementary materials can be either provided during class or downloaded from TOKYO TECH OCW-i.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students are assessed on the following criteria.
Discussion and practice in each class: 70%
Final report: 30%

Related courses

  • LAH.T109 : Linguistics A
  • LAH.T210 : Linguistics B
  • LAH.T309 : Linguistics C

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisite.

Page Top