MarSOC fast-tracks critical language skills

BonannoQbano

SicilianoQbano
Unverified
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
46
Location
mount pleasant
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command has launched an ambitious yearlong course to make Marines fluent in some of the world’s most difficult languages.

The Advanced Linguist Course is the first of its kind in the military. Students will have 52 weeks to develop the ability to understand, speak and read Pashto, Dari and Urdu, all of which Marines have encountered in Afghanistan. That’s two months faster than similar courses at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., said Tanya Woodcook, MarSOC’s component language program manager.

MarSOC also teaches 36-week courses in French, spoken throughout parts of Africa, and Bahasa, the primary language of Indonesia. Next year, the program will expand to include Arabic and Portuguese.

“We develop negotiators and Marines that will establish relationships” with the local populace, she said. “It’s a very intricate skill.”

Courses began June 1. In addition to formal classroom work taught by instructors contracted through DLI, students will be immersed in an environment within the U.S. where only that language is spoken. Then they’ll spend up to six weeks in a foreign country where the target language is common.

Various forms of technology — from electronic whiteboards to individual work stations with commercial Internet access — will be used throughout the curriculum as well, and eventually every student will have a laptop.

MarSOC officials tapped 17 recent graduates from the command’s first Individual Training Course to spend the next 36 to 52 weeks in one of the five classes. They used Marines’ Defense Language Aptitude Battery Test scores to help determine who was best suited for learning the more difficult languages, Woodcook said. Only enlisted Marines are selected for the program.

Each course is five days a week, six hours a day. At the end of every day, the students must know at least two new phrases. Then there’s homework in the evenings.

While fellow special operators prepare to deploy around the world, these Marines meet in white-walled classrooms inside temporary trailers set up at Camp Lejeune’s Stone Bay training area. All five languages are taught there; Dari and Pashto also are offered on the West Coast.

In the Pashto class, the students repeat basic sentences such as “He is Mahmood’s father.” Although he misses being in the field, one sergeant, who declined to give his name, said he is happy he was selected to learn a foreign language.

“This is something that’s … going to allow me to be out operating more,” he said.

Pashto, which is spoken in Afghanistan’s southern provinces, is particularly difficult to learn for Americans because its pronunciation is very unusual, Woodcook said.

“It’s definitely challenging, but it’s not impossible,” the sergeant said. “It’s not overwhelming.”

Slowly, he’s becoming more familiar with the Pashto alphabet and is starting to be able to read words his instructors write on the board. Pashto is written from right to left and, to the untrained eye, looks like a series of scribbles and dots.

In the next classroom, Marines and their instructors converse in Dari, common to Afghanistan’s central, northern and western provinces.

“What it’s going to do is allow us first-hand interaction with the locals,” said a staff sergeant. “It will extend our capabilities.”

Learning Dari is difficult, he said, but he expects to be fluent by the end of the course.
 

AssadUSMC

Ruining hajis' days
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
521
Location
No VA
The "interpersonal dynamic" at DLI should get real interesting real fast when some meat-eaters from the USMC arrive... until now, it's been all SEALs/SF, with an occasional grunt who got smart ;) showing up.
 

mrc_023320

Unverified
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
8
Location
VA
This is really interesting. Are there any similar programs that a civilian might have access to? Planning to attend OCS next year, but have always wanted to develop foreign language skills... Also, are there any recommendations as to languages which are most needed right now? Any that would be best to learn as a first attempt at learning a second language?

Thanks in advance.
 

formerBrat

Lab Animal
Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
221
Location
SoTX
This is really interesting. Are there any similar programs that a civilian might have access to? Planning to attend OCS next year, but have always wanted to develop foreign language skills... Also, are there any recommendations as to languages which are most needed right now? Any that would be best to learn as a first attempt at learning a second language?

Thanks in advance.

I'll be nice and post this before you get kicked in the jimmy for not using the search function...j/k

http://www.shadowspear.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19661&highlight=foreign+language

Seriously, a lot of knowledegable people around on the site, so any questions you have they can help, but there is also a lot of information already here. Good luck and welcome!
 

SAWMAN

SEAL
Verified SOF
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
202
Outstanding! In fact, I believe it should be a military-wide campaign to teach the languages of our enemies.

Know your enemy and annihilate them. We should know their language, monitor all their comms, take their stuff, body snatch their key connections, undermine everything they have going for them and stomp them with all we've got where it hurts the most.

If not, we're dicking the dog.
 

ritterk

Recon Marine
Verified SOF
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
123
Location
Alaska
Outstanding! In fact, I believe it should be a military-wide campaign to teach the languages of our enemies.

Know your enemy and annihilate them. We should know their language, monitor all their comms, take their stuff, body snatch their key connections, undermine everything they have going for them and stomp them with all we've got where it hurts the most.

If not, we're dicking the dog.

Why aren’t you in charge? I enjoy your insight on these matters and just about always agree with it. Reps to you!
 

AssadUSMC

Ruining hajis' days
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
521
Location
No VA
Outstanding! In fact, I believe it should be a military-wide campaign to teach the languages of our enemies.

Know your enemy and annihilate them. We should know their language, monitor all their comms, take their stuff, body snatch their key connections, undermine everything they have going for them and stomp them with all we've got where it hurts the most.

If not, we're dicking the dog.

When I was assigned to Arabic in 1997, I wasn't real happy (I wanted Russian). Our MLI, an Army SF SSgt, told me, "Hey Sgt, just think, you can cuss them out in their own language before you kill them!" I cheered up after that and was honor grad. Now in 2009, I'm damn glad I got "stuck" with Arabic.
 

nograndpas

Unverified
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
7
or maybe the smart thing to do instead of cuss them out in their own language is to learn it, understand the subtle intricacies and use it as an advantage in developing and maintaining a reputable rapport with the local nationals....just a thought...
 

AssadUSMC

Ruining hajis' days
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
521
Location
No VA
or maybe the smart thing to do instead of cuss them out in their own language is to learn it, understand the subtle intricacies and use it as an advantage in developing and maintaining a reputable rapport with the local nationals....just a thought...

Gee thanks... You're so culturally aware. Maybe you should get off your high fucking horse before making idiotic comments a whole 4 posts in.

I'll humor you: I joined the Marines as a grunt with recon option, got hurt in the grunts, lat-moved to SIGINT, got stuck in a world 180 degrees from where I was in the infantry. Now you get to the part of my story I wrote about. Since then, I've terped, worked with foreign troops, etc. I am VERY aware of how to use my language skills. Goddamn it, people piss me off... :mad:
 

Teufel

Force Recon
Verified SOF
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
4,454
Location
Tun Tavern
Gee thanks... You're so culturally aware. Maybe you should get off your high fucking horse before making idiotic comments a whole 4 posts in.

I'll humor you: I joined the Marines as a grunt with recon option, got hurt in the grunts, lat-moved to SIGINT, got stuck in a world 180 degrees from where I was in the infantry. Now you get to the part of my story I wrote about. Since then, I've terped, worked with foreign troops, etc. I am VERY aware of how to use my language skills. Goddamn it, people piss me off... :mad:

Are you an RRT guy? I don't think no grandpas meant any disrespect, he is on track with what he is saying. I would blame this on the fog of blog.
 

AssadUSMC

Ruining hajis' days
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
521
Location
No VA
Are you an RRT guy? I don't think no grandpas meant any disrespect, he is on track with what he is saying. I would blame this on the fog of blog.

Apologies... I took it as a derog post. :doh:

Semper Fi.
 

AssadUSMC

Ruining hajis' days
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
521
Location
No VA
or maybe the smart thing to do instead of cuss them out in their own language is to learn it, understand the subtle intricacies and use it as an advantage in developing and maintaining a reputable rapport with the local nationals....just a thought...

Sorry dude - it won't let me edit my post or I'd delete it. I'll get the sand out of my clit next time. :D
 
Top