Migration Linguistics Unit

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies


A global center for language concerns of migrants


To conduct excellent research and provide relevant support on and for migrants and their various language issues


The Migration Linguistics Unit (MLU) at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) envisions a globalized society where migrants are regarded as bridges of progress, and a borderless world where the multilingualism they bring is seen as celebration of diversity. As such, the work the Unit does focuses on language and how it affects and is affected by the migration process. It conducts research which theorizes on migration and language using multidisciplinary perspectives and methodologies. Likewise, it implements programs which support stakeholders of migration, most especially migrants, in harnessing opportunities for migrants in the social phenomenon of migration with language as key to this endeavor.


It was in early 2019 when 'migration linguistics' was first used by Ariane Borlongan in a short article about this 'new subsdiscipline' of linguistics published in the Diliman Review. In August of the same year, an Invitational Fellowship project on migration linguistics with Ariane Borlongan as host and Ron Vilog as fellow was submitted to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and was subsequently approved in December 2019.

At the beginning of Academic Year 2020-2021, courses on migration linguistics were offered at TUFS both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. And in June of 2020, Ariane Borlongan recieved the Multicultural Symbiosis Project Support from the TUFS Center for Multilingual Multicultural Education and Research to introduce migration linguistics as an academic and social responsibility endeavor. In July of the same year, a webinar introducing migration linguistics was held, organized jointly by the Linguistic Society of the Philippines (LSP) and TUFS, which featured Ariane Borlongan, Ron Bridget Vilog, and the first cohort of students of the Migration Linguistics course.

In March 2021, the series Conversations on Migration and Language was launched, convened, and hosted by Ariane Borlongan at TUFS with Lisa Lim and Loy Lising as main discussants and Nicanor Guinto and Ron Vilog as hosts. At the beginning of Academic Year 2021-2022, Ariane Borlongan support from TUFS administration, particularly vice presidents Toru Aoyama and Toshihide Nakayama, to organize the Migration Linguistics Unit (MLU). On September 28, 2021, the Unit was officially launched with Paul Kerswill giving the inaugural lecture titled Migration, Sociolinguistic Typology and Language Change.