Stephen Howe is a professor at the Department of English at Fukuoka University, Japan.

My research background is historical linguistics, especially English and the other Germanic languages. Historical linguistics is the study of how and why languages change. I am also interested in the biology and evolution of language. I am currently working on primary universals of human language, which means the essential characteristics that all human languages share. Last year I was a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, a visiting academic at the Section for African Languages at the University of Cape Town, and a Visiting Fellow at the Macquarie University in Sydney researching Australian Aboriginal languages.

I am also interested in how we communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I have received a three-year grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to research ‘jearse’ and ‘dow’ in America and the origins of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in human language. To read more about my research or to take the Dow Jearse Survey, visit

I was originally a medical student at Newcastle University in England, but after studies in Newcastle, Würzburg and Freiburg in Germany, Lund in Sweden and Ghent in Belgium, I received my PhD in languages and linguistics from the University of London. After graduation, I worked outside university starting an internet and publishing company for university and research writing in English. I returned to academic life about ten years ago, to Fukuoka University, the largest university in western Japan. I am the author of The Personal Pronouns in the Germanic Languages (De Gruyter) and co-author of the PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research in English. The Kindle version of the PhraseBook is a Top 100 Best Seller on in Science Education Research (March 2014).

I am also the author of English The Language of LoveJapanese English The Language of Love and English Chinese The Language of Love – phrase books to help you fall in love with English, Japanese and Chinese…

If you are thinking of studying English at Fukuoka University, please browse my Teaching and Classes and Studying at Fukuoka University pages for an idea of some of our classes.