Above image: "Song of the Human" premiere, World Financial Center, NY 10/12/2016, music by Pete Wyer, inspired by Shigeru Miyagawa's Integration Hypothesis. Listen to an excerpt to the right, "We Must Say Goodbye."

MIT News features Song of Human on top page. Interview with Pete Wyer and John Schaefer


New book from MIT Press published today. Agreement Beyond Phi, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph, MIT Press. MIT News story.


Professor of Linguistics & Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture | MIT | miyagawa@mit.edu

Project Professor and Director of Online Education, University of Tokyo

Media | Open Education

Miyagawa was on the original MIT committee that proposed OpenCourseWare, and was the Chair of the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee, 2010 - 2013. For his work with OCW around the world, he was awarded the President’s Award for OCW Excellence from the Global OpenCourseWare Consortium. He is also Co-director of Visualizing Cultures (visualizingcultures.mit.edu) with the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, John W. Dower, which was awarded MIT Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award. With John Dower and Andrew Gordon of Harvard, he created Visualizing Japan, a MOOC offered by edX for the first time in the fall of 2014 that has attracted over 9,000 learners world-wide. Visualizing Japan was a Finalist for the prestigious Japan Prize in 2015. He is also the producer of the multimedia program, StarFestival, which stars George Takei as the voice of the main character. StarFestival was awarded the Distinguished Award at the Multimedia Grandprix 2000 (Japan), and a regional Best of Show at the 1997 MacWorld Exposition. For his work in technology and education, he was recognized with the Irwin Sizer Award For the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education (1995), and “Shapers of the Future” by the educational technology magazine Converge (2002). Since 2014, he has served as the Project Professor and Director of Online Education for the University of Tokyo as a joint appointment with MIT.

Linguistics | Language in Evolution

Shigeru Miyagawa, teaching at MIT, 2015

Miyagawa works on syntax, morphology, and Altaic and East Asian linguistics. He has recently been exploring the idea that grammatical agreement, broadly conceived, is universally present in human language. He is the author of Agreement Beyond Phi (to appear, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph, MIT Press), Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order, Leading Linguists Series (Routledge, 2012), Why Agree? Why Move?, published as a Linguistic Inquiry Monograph by MIT Press (2010), and co-editor with Mamoru Saito of Oxford Handbook of Japanese Linguistics published by the Oxford University Press (2008), along with over fifty articles on various linguistics topics. 

He has recently developed a theory of language evolution that hypothesizes that human language arose from the integration of two pre-existing systems in nature, one seen in birdsong, the other in primate alarm calls. His ideas are developed in jointly authored articles (Frontiers in Psychology, 2013, 2014, 2015). The Integration Hypothesis received mention in the journal Science and its news website (http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2013/02/tweet-screech-hey). Nature interviewed him, along with Noam Chomsky, for a program on primate communication and human language (Nature Podcast). BBC produced a 30-minute special inspired by his Integration Hypothesis of human language evolution. It aired in May 2015 on Radio 4, which has a multi-million listener base (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tz9jr).

He received his B.A. from the International Christian University in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1980.

OpenCourseWare redefined the relationship between MIT and the society it serves, bringing the two closer together, with benefits to both sides.
— Shigeru Miyagawa