Departments' Profile

Department of Language and Literature

Finding New Approaches to Language and Culture

Seeking Out Potential in Language and Culture Studies

We define "Zanguage and culture" as "all cultural phenomena that can be expressed by language or analyzed by linguistic means." Thus, we not only conduct traditional research in literature and linguistics but search out new, multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of culture, and we encourage students to develop their own language ability and then to use it to discover new ways of approaching language and culture.

Both Special Fields and a Field-traversing Curriculum

The department is comprised of three courses: Japanese and Asian Languages and Literature, European and American Languages and Literature, and Comparative Languages and Literature. In addition to the classes offered by each course, the department offers classes in language and information, communication, art and culture, culture and film/media, and children's literature. This allows students not only to learn in their special field but to choose freely classes in related fields in language and culture.

Systematic Study

In the second year, students take introductory classes, core reading classes in their field of specialty, and basic seminars. In the third and fourth years, they listen to more advanced lectures, do more advanced reading, and participate in more advanced seminars, completing their graduation thesis as their final achievement. As they progress through the program, students discover their own research topics; they nurture their abilities to collect and read related literature and to develop their ideas logically. Such abilities will be well regarded after they graduate, and this is one of the reasons why our graduates are well received in the job market.

Japanese and Asian Languages and Literature

The Japanese and Asian Languages and Literature Course is comprised of two specialty fields: Japanese language and literature and Chinese language and literature. Students can study culture and history through literature, language, film /media culture, publishing, and the performing arts in Asia. Students have opportunities to observe such performing arts as bunraku plays and kabuki and to visit facilities related to media culture. Students actively communicate with students from such countries as China, South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.

In the field of Japanese language and literature, students, from their first year on, develop their ability to read both literary work from a variety of periods and the relevant research materials, while also improving their Japanese reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. They are later introduced to more specialized subjects, ranging from the theory of Japanese literature and the history of Japanese literature to the history of the Japanese language. Students also have an option to study the local culture, literature, and folklore of Shizuoka Prefecture.

In the field of Chinese language and literature, students learn the basics of the language in their first year. They later study Chinese linguistics, literature (classics and modern), and related culture (Chinese film, Chinese culture, comparative Japanese and Chinese cultures, etc.) Our university also has a student exchange program with Zhejiang University (tuition exempt) for students to improve their Chinese language proficiency. For more information, visit our website at http://www.hss.shizuoka.ac.jp/lang/chinese/.

European and American Languages and Literature

Our course offers students majors in three fields: English (British and American) language and literature; German language and literature; and French language and literature.

In the British and American program, students study English literature and culture as well as modern theories of English language. Writing their graduation thesis in English helps students improve their logical thinking and English skills. An increasing number of students go overseas to study at such universities as the University of Nebraska (US) and the University of Alberta (Canada), both of which have sister-university relationships with Shizuoka University.

Classes in German language and literature incorporate the latest information and enable students to study the language, literature, and culture of such German-speaking countries and regions as Austria and Switzerland. Attention is also given to history and the environment. A number of classes in German conversation are offered by native speakers, and students build a website while learning the language. Shizuoka University has an inter-faculty exchange agreement between our faculty and the Faculty of Arts of Bonn University. Several Shizuoka University students go to study at Bonn University, and students from Bonn University come to study at Shizuoka University. A German language workshop is offered in Amagi Yugashima every year, in which a large number of students ranging from beginners to graduate school students participate. Students from the University of Shizuoka also participate. Students studying at our university from Bonn University are invited to provide workshop participants with opportunities to improve their German linguistic ability.

In the French language and literature program, subjects vary from practical French to the language, literature, culture, and thinking from medieval times to the modern era. This allows students to conduct in-depth research. Our exchange agreement with Nancy University gives students the opportunity to study in France.

Comparative Languages and Literature

This course consists of two fields--comparative literature and culture, and linguistics--and aims to provide education and to conduct research from a wide perspective that transcends national or regional borders.

Although the comparative literature and culture program is further divided into comparative literature and comparative culture, they are interrelated closely. Students who major in comparative literature choose several literary works or writers from different countries and regions and examine their similarities and differences, as well as their influence on each other. They choose from a wide range of literary works from Japan and overseas, as well as from mythology, legend, and folk tales. Some students also choose works in categories such as oral literature and fantasy literature or topics related to issues in translation. Students in the comparative culture program also conduct research on a wide variety of themes, such as how cultural differences are reflected in literature (art), or how writers incorporate the image of foreign countries (or their own) into their work.

Research in the linguistics program covers such languages as Japanese (and its dialects), familiar languages such as English and German, and languages spoken by minority ethnic groups that have yet to be analyzed fully. Students examine language structures and systems, the relationship between two separate languages, as well as the relationship between a language and its environment. For more information, visit our website at http://www.hss.shizuoka.ac.jp/lang/linguistics/.