Research Methods in Applied Linguistics, B

A dinosaur
LecturerKimi AKITA, Associate Professor
DepartmentGraduate School of Languages and Cultures, 2015 Fall
Recommended for:Graduate Students (215 weeks / semester)

Course Overview

In this course we will learn and compare different theories explaining the relationship of syntax and semantics such as Lexical-Conceptual Semantics, Construction Grammar, Frame Semantics, and the Generative Lexicon. Generally, synonyms exhibit similar syntactic behavior. For example, both "break" and "cut" are used as transitive verbs. The relationship between syntax and semantics might seem simple at first glance but is in fact incredibly complicated. Several theories have attempted to explain this relationship and new ones are continuously being put forward to bring about a better understanding. In this class we will examine those competing theories and by doing so study the theoretical frameworks of linguistics.

More specifically, we will study:

  1. How to make specific case studies in individual languages (e.g., a cognitive-linguistic study of Japanese verbs) linguistically meaningful
  2. How to find new correlations or concepts using linguistic theories.
  3. How to critically compare and contrast different theories

Key Features

There are certain prerequisites to writing linguistic papers and dissertations. However, most introductory books to linguistic theories are published in English and remain inaccessible to students who study Japanese linguistics. Hence we will help the students in the following ways:


  • To provide Japanese references whenever possible.
  • To give interesting examples, such as onomatopoeia, slang, and puns.
  • To invite renowned scholars from outside the university.

Homework assignments

  • Encourage students to apply the theories learned in class to their own research topics or to their native languages
  • Allow co-authored submission
  • Provide detailed feedback


  • Update and share PowerPoint slides via Dropbox based on in-class discussions.
  • Since the lecture is held on the last period of the day, students are free to continue discussion after class hours.
  • Office hours = by appointment 7 days a week

Class Structure

  1. Introduction and background of the day's topic (10 min)
  2. Paper review (20-30 min)
  3. Discussion on the previous assignment (20-30 min)
  4. Further discussion (20 min)
  5. Homework assignment

In addition to the main themes, the following methodologies will also be introduced:

  1. How to make effective slides
  2. How to write an abstract to apply for a conference presentation
  3. How to search for academic resources
  4. Procedures of the field of linguistics

Evaluation Criteria

  • Review of research papers (30%)
  • Homework and participation in discussion (40%)
  • Final report (30%)

Last updated

April 10, 2020