Special Topics in Functional English

Special Topics in Functional English is a one-semester, topic-oriented course in which students will study a particular topic deeply in English.

Corpus Methods in Data Science, Digital Humanities, and Applied Linguistics (Spring/Fall) — Open

Instructor: Laurence Anthony

In this course, students will learn how to create and analyze databases of language (corpora) and visualize and interpret the results of that analysis for use in data science, digital humanities, and applied linguistics, applications. Students will learn how to access or build language data (corpus) resources, use corpus methods to analyze the data, visualize the results of that analysis, and interpret their findings. Students will then apply what they have learned in an individual project on a topic of their interest.

Download a course syllabus here.

Cognitive Neuroscience – An Introduction Focusing on Human Language (Spring/Fall)

Instructor: Hiromu Sakai

This course introduces core concepts and methodologies of cognitive neuroscience with some retrospective review of its formative background in 1950s. It also provides a brief introduction to theoretical, psychological, and neurophysiological studies on human language processing – as concrete examples of actual research performed at each levels of explanation. From the point of view of English language education, this course provides an opportunity to experience a series of learning processes, listening to lectures, reading course materials, and asking questions, about a new research area using English. The participants are expected to work home and make sure they understand the contents of each class before the next class. The expected study time is one to two hours a week.

Download a course syllabus here.

Spoken Fluency Measurement and Development (Spring/Fall) — Open

Instructor: Ralph Rose

Many people say that they would like to become more fluent in a second language. But what does fluency actually mean and how can it be actively developed? This course aims to explore these questions through a dual focus on fluency. One, the course will explore what it means to be fluent by reading what experts have said about it and integrating it with students’ own intuitions. Students will also carry out a number of experiment-like activities to examine fluency in a hypothesis-driven manner. Second, the course will seek to develop students’ fluency in English communication. Deciding exactly how this will be done will be an exercise for the student: They will decide on a suitable procedure and implement it on a regular basis, partly during each lesson. By the end of the course, students should be able to describe various theoretical and observational facets of fluency, as well as evaluate their own fluency development in objective terms.

Download a course syllabus here.

English for Basic Mathematics as a Tool for Logical Thinking and Scientific Research (Spring/Fall)

Instructor: Fusa Katada

This course is designed for science and engineering students who wish to rediscover and reevaluate their English competence that might be hidden inside them, and to increase their comfort and proficiency in using English for academic purposes. To accomplish this objective, students will be trained to apply English to their scientific knowledge of their familiar subject, namely basic mathematics. Expected learning outcomes are: (a) to achieve the level of English competence to tutor mathematics to English-speaking children, (b) to be prepared to take the mathematics sections of the Graduate Record Examination and the Graduate Management Admission Test for graduate schools in the North America, and (c) to be prepared to take English-based aptitude tests that are often encountered in job searches.

Download a course syllabus here.

Introduction to Computational Psycholinguistics (Spring/Fall) — Open

Instructor: Naho Orita

Computational psycholinguistics is a field of science that explores how humans learn and use language using computational approaches. It is a highly interdisciplinary field, drawing on questions and techniques from linguistics, psychology, computer science, and statistics. The main goal in this field is to better understand human language, but also help advance language technologies and artificial intelligence. This course aims to introduce students to some of the basic concepts and methods to model human language acquisition and use. The course will focus on probabilistic models and consider how these models can be used to explore questions about human language. Students will also gain practical experience with scientific simulations using Python programming language.

Download a course syllabus here.

Animal Cognition and Communication – Approaching to the Evolution of Language (Spring/Fall) — Open

Instructor: Ayaka Sugawara

Faculty of Language – the ability to use language – is one of the features peculiar to human. We, human beings, acquire our first language(s) without being explicitly taught, no matter what language(s) we (or rather, babies) are acquiring, regardless of the social situation they are in. Animals other than human, of course, communicate with each other, using the signals such as sound and gesture – but is it comparable to our “language”? If not, what is the difference? In this course, students will (i) learn what kind of cognitive and communicative abilities animals (vertebrates) possess, (ii) discuss the evolution of language, and (iii) learn to discuss sophisticated topics in English. Students will read the course materials assigned for the week, sit in the class for the lecture/review, and then engage in discussion as a small group in English. Students are expected to be actively engaged in discussion and be a good listener. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the topics in question, and confident in reading, listening, and speaking in English.

Download a course syllabus here.

Topics in University Chemistry and its Language (Spring/Fall)

Instructor: Nilson Kunioshi

In this course, students will study a variety of topics in university chemistry and develop awareness about how language is used to convey scientific (specifically, chemistry-related) knowledge. Basic topics of university chemistry will be conveyed through a variety of ways: classroom spoken discourse by a native English speaker, classroom spoken discourse by a non-native English speaker, and a textbook written by a native English speaker. As students access content through different channels, they are expected to develop first awareness of the differences in the language used in everyday life, in academic settings, in both written and spoken forms, and then the academic skills related to the language of chemistry.

Download a course syllabus here.

Further information