Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan Ramsey here from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center to talk about the importance of language and culture, which are the cornerstones to the success of the concept of Regionally Aligned Forces. Through language and culture, noncommissioned officers learn to understand the strategic environment, think critically and creatively and, among other things, collaborate and build teams – all tasks that are critical to leader development, the NCO 2020 Strategy and the future force.
In support of the Department of Defense’s global mission, and especially for individual language learners, the DLIFLC continues to create a variety of high-quality, online products available for general-purpose forces and the public on the institute’s website: http://www.dliflc.edu/resources/products/. Here, the institute trains the Soldier at the point of need.
To accomplish the mission as part of the joint force, the institute delivers pre-deployment language instructional and culture materials, online diagnostic assessments in multiple languages, and Language Survival Kits using cutting–edge technology. Check out the descriptions below to learn more.
Basic language and culture skills available:
Rapport provides six to eight hours of language and culture pre-deployment training. Rapport combines interactive drills on useful phrases and military vocabulary with an overview of the history and cultures in a specific region. It is survival-level basic knowledge to help a learner connect with locals and begin building trust that can keep the mission on track. http://rapport.dliflc.edu/
HeadStart2 is an interactive, introductory-level, self-study course that familiarizes the user with the language of the target culture. The program provides theme-based activities and drills based on real-life military scenarios. Exciting features include avatars with localized images, a sound recorder, customizable glossary and animated pronunciation guide. It provides 80-100 hours of course work. http://hs2.dliflc.edu/
Countries in Perspective, or CiP, and Cultural Orientation, or CO, offer invaluable insight and analysis to a varied audience of learners. The program provides stimulating target country studies, interactive materials and basic language exchanges to help foster an understanding of a wide array of regions and cultures. Each individual CiP blends a narrative with interactive multimedia pieces to examine the geography, history, economy, society and security issues of the country, while CO introduces a given cultural group, combining brief language exchanges with an objective and practical look at daily life in different contexts. http://fieldsupport.dliflc.edu/productList.aspx?v=cip and http://fieldsupport.dliflc.edu/productList.aspx?v=co
The Language Survival Kit, or LSK, includes a Language Survival Guide, which will prove useful to both novices and linguists due to their wealth of mission-specific terminology. It includes text, audio recordings, and translations for up to 3,000 mission-related phrases. Available online, as a printed booklet with CD, or as a mobile app for certain languages, LSKs offer phrases covering specific topics that you can read or playback without having to know the language. Module topics include Air Crew, Basic Phrases, Civil Affairs, Cordon/Search, Force Protection, Medical, Military Police, Naval Commands, Public Affairs and Weapons. http://fieldsupport.dliflc.edu/productList.aspx?v=lsk
This site is a rich repository of animated folktales from around the world. The program covers many countries in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. The original illustrations and selected dual-language audio tracks contain lessons about the values and mores of other cultures. http://legends.dliflc.edu/
Advanced, enhancement tools available:
The Global Language Online Support System, or GLOSS, offers thousands of lessons (learning objects) in dozens of languages for independent learners to improve their foreign language skills. Lessons are available for intermediate and advanced learners, with the ability to focus on specific topic areas, tailored for building listening or reading proficiency. https://gloss.dliflc.edu/
The Accent Library is a handy collection of accent samples in Arabic and Spanish that vividly illustrate dialects and regional speech variations of the standard language. http://accents.dliflc.edu/
The Phone Project series is a comprehensive resource for locating level and topic appropriate phone conversations in Arabic and Spanish. Value-added lesson plans, support materials, transcriptions and translations provide beneficial tools for classroom use or self-study. http://phone.dliflc.edu/
This convenient cross-referenced search engine consolidates grammar explanations and practice materials into one easy to use tool for self-study and language maintenance. http://ags.dliflc.edu/
Language and culture proficiency tools available:
Online Diagnostic Assessment, or ODA, is a formative, web-based, diagnostic support tool for teachers and learners. Upon completion of a computer-adaptive assessment session online, ODA provides an individualized profile with information about the learner’s estimated proficiency level as well as their strengths and weaknesses. The diagnostic profile details the learner’s performance in main idea and supporting detail questions, vocabulary in context, language-specific structure features and discourse items. The profile directs the learner to online resources specific to addressing weaknesses identified by the assessment. http://oda.dliflc.edu/
The DLIFLC Cultural Awareness Assessment, or CAA, is a practical tool to assess familiarity with specific regional cultures. Developed using the DoD Regional and Cultural Expertise Guidelines, the easy-to-use online tests in the CAA measure knowledge in topic areas such as geography, religion, traditions, history and security. http://caa.dliflc.edu/%28S%28w3o5eba2woy1pg45ilkvhz55%29%29/index.aspx
Mobile applications available:
Selected HeadStart2 and LSK mobile applications for mobile devices are available in iTunes and Google Play.
DLIFLC has an immense amount of online products focused on linguistic and cultural instruction at all ability levels. We will continue to introduce new educational technology capabilities and other language learning aids in future postings of this blog on the TRADOC News Center.