I started my career teaching English as a foreign language in schools, colleges and universities in East Asia and the United Kingdom. I have lived and worked in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan for extended periods. Over the years my professional interests have cycled through various roles, such as teacher trainer, assessor, and materials developer.

I am a senior associate professor in the Center for Language Research within the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Aizu. I am also a faculty member of the Graduate School of Computer Science and Engineering.

I am a corpus-computational linguist who coordinates, designs and delivers both computer science and language courses. I strive to deliver classes that are evidence-based, learner-centered and harness the latest technological developments. My elective courses adopt a content and language-integrated learning approach in which I develop both content knowledge and language. My current portfolio of courses includes: authorship analysis using Python, expert system with Python, information ethics and thesis writing.

I enjoy applying my knowledge and experience to lead research teams to develop language analysis and learning tools which harness cutting-edge technologies. My current research interests include:

  • Forensic linguistics: authorship verification, profiling and attribution
  • Computational linguistics: developing bespoke tools for language analysis
  • Corpus linguistics: analyzing texts using corpus tools and statistical analysis
  • Technology-enhanced learning: developing tailormade tools for learning
  • Artificial intelligence: generative AI, explainable AI, expert systems

I am fascinated by the complexity and patterns witin research communications, e.g. theses, articles and abstracts. I view academic and scientific writing as combination of knowledge, skills and behaviours that draws upon a range of literacies, e.g. critical, logical and statistic; and requires mastery of range of language features, e.g. coherence and cohesion.

When teaching language, I use corpus linguistics and discourse analysis to develop research-based materials to deliver learner-centered EAP or ESP classes that are enjoyable, challenging and relevant. I am an avid grammarian, and enjoy discussing any aspect of any grammar from anaphora to zeugma.

When teaching computer science and other content-focus subjects, I adopt a hands-on, interactive approach with students engaged in problem-solving and learning by doing. I tailor my materials, lectures, exercises and jokes (at least my attempts) to the learner needs, interests and abilities while covering the required content dictated by the syllabus and ensuring students are sufficiently prepared to excel in the assignments and assessments. I am believer in criterion-based assessment and do not use norm-referenced assessment (unless mandated).



  • PhD Applied linguistics [ pdf ]
  • MSc Computer science
  • MEd Applied linguistics
  • MBA with specialization in financial management
  • MA Creative writing
  • MA Mathematics education (dissertation in progress)
  • BA(Hons) Combined studies

Diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications

  • PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Adv Dip Ed Advanced Diploma in Education (Language and literacy)
  • Dip Man Diploma in Management
  • MBCS Professional member of the British Computer Society
  • CITP Chartered IT Professional
  • RSA Dip RSA Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (now called DELTA)
  • RSA Cert RSA Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (now called CELTA)
  • Cambridge CELTA Lead tutor
  • Doctoral Go(MEXT-recognised graduate school instructor qualification)
  • Expert Witness Certificate for Criminal Law (Cardiff University Bond Solon) (completed, awaiting results)

Credit-bearing courses developed and delivered at University of Aizu

  • Technology-enhanced language learning (Graduate course)
  • Information ethics
  • Expert systems with Python
  • Authorship analysis using Python
  • Thesis writing and presentations
  • Visualizing time and tense
  • Research poster presentations
  • Patterns and language
  • Logic and language
  • Prompt engineering: Theory and practice (to be offered in 2024)

Linguistic-related interests

  • Research themes: scientific and academic writing, educational technology
  • Branches of linguistics: corpus, computational, applied and forensic
  • Languages: Japanese, Chinese (Cantonese/Hakka), Thai, Latin, Sign language (ASL)

Non-linguistic-related interests

  • Outdoor pursuits: Winter mountaineering, winter and ultralight camping; wild swimming
  • Martial arts: arnis (escrima, kali), silat, Thai boxing and judo
  • Cognitive-enriching: chess, crosswords and ciphers
  • Knowledge-enriching: entomology (lepidoptera), forensic criminology, human anatomy, linear algebra
  • Collecting: geology (rocks and fossils), philately (penny reds)
  • Dexterity-challenging: cardistry, coin walk, juggling (three-ball cascade)

Favourite sayings

  • "Outwork everyone."
  • "Climb high, lift heavy, swim hard, eat clean."
  • "Grit, tenacity and perseverance outweigh talent."
  • "Passion for life correlates exponentially to the proximity of death."
Life philosphy
  • "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Seneca
  • "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato
  • "Life is hard. Then you die." David Gerrold, American science fiction screenwriter and novelist
  • "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "Aggregate marginal gains." Dave Brailsford, British Olympic Cycling Team manager
  • "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." Gandhi
  • "I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think." Socrates
  • "Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people." Socrates
  • "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Henry David Thoreau
  • "It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." Zig Ziglar
  • "People first, then money, then things." Suze Orman
  • "Every second you get that isn’t painful you should cherish." Jordan Peterson
  • "When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we never take back." Alexander the Great
  • "Nine-tenths of our happiness depends on health." Arthur Schopenhauer
  • "The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing." Socrates
Judgement and equality
  • "Nobody is equal to anybody. Even the same man is not equal to himself on different days." Thomas Sowell
  • "Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today." Jordan Peterson
  • "As soon as you judge someone you create an opening in your heart for evil to enter. Comparing, competing with, and critizing others will weaken and defeat you." Morihei Ueshiba 植芝 盛平, founder of aikido
  • "Stay strong." David Goggins
  • "Do every act of your life as if it were your last." Marcus Aurelius
  • "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." Mark Twain
  • "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill
  • "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Will Durant
  • "The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir
  • "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." Sir Edmund Hilary
Self defense
  • "Tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice." Samurai maxim
  • "Visualize yourself on the battlefield of life under ferocious attack; so you are always prepared for the worst." Morihei Ueshiba 植芝 盛平, founder of aikido
  • "If you want peace, prepare for war. [Si vis pacem, para bellum]." Latin adage, popularized by John Wick
  • "Ready for anything [Utrinque paratus]." motto of the Parachute regiment
  • "Beware of the man who does not talk and the dog who does not bite." Native American proverb
  • "Everyone has a plan until they get hit." Mike Tyson (Iron Mike)
  • "Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." General James (Mad Dog) Mattis (former US Secretary of Defense)
  • "Always carry a knife with you. Just in case there's cheesecake or you need to stab someone in the throat." General James (Mad Dog) Mattis (former US Secretary of Defense)
  • "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." Tuko, The good, the bad and the ugly, (1966).
Marriage :)
  • "Marriage is a lot like playing cards. In the beginning, all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you’ll wish you had a club and a spade." Unknown

Snippets from my Ph.D. thesis

  • "Although these three scenarios provide only a glimpse of the vast number of potential permutations, it is apparent that the frequency of opportunity far outweighs the frequency of occurrence." (Blake, 2021, p.164)
  • "lexis-grammar duality of language is analogical to the wave-particle duality of quantum theory as conveyed by the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat" (Blake, 2021, p.199)
  • "20 permutations out of almost 200 accounted for over two-thirds of all the move sequences" (Blake, 2021, p.255)
  • "Simply put, discipline-specific lexical choice appears to trump move-specific lexical choice." (Blake, 2021, p.257)
  • "There is a disjuncture between the prescriptive advice and the descriptive reality." (Blake, 2021, p.259)

Multiple intelligences

According to Gardener's theory of multiple intellgences, intelligence can be thought of as modalities. Each person has a different balance of intelligences. As can be seen below, I have to work hard to deal with music and people.

multiple intelligences

Contact details

  • Office: Research quadrangles #265
  • Office hours: By appointment
  • Email: jblake (followed by @ and u-aizu.ac and the country domain .jp)
  • Postal address (en): Center for Language Research, University of Aizu, Aizu-wakamatsu, 965 8580. Japan
  • Postal address (jp): 〒965-8580 福島県会津若松市一箕町鶴賀 会津大学語学研究センター
  • Telephone: not my preferred choice of communication

Useful shortcuts

  • Snip tool: Windows logo key + Shift + S then use paste ctrl + V
  • Move off-screen window: Alt + Space + M and then use arrow keys