Pentagon declares foreign language a weapon. O.K., maggots, drop and give me 50 conjugations.

Dennis Baron debaron at UIUC.EDU
Tue Jan 30 19:34:38 UTC 2007

There's a new post on
Web of Language:

"The Pentagon is seeking Congressional approval to develop its latest  
secret weapon, foreign languages.  Deputy Under Secretary of Defense  
Michael Dominguez testified before a Senate Homeland Security  
subcommittee last week that language is now “a critical war-fighting  
skill.”  ... Today our foes have learned to blend in with local  
populations, speaking the local lingo and blowing up the local  
marketplace....To confront them the army's new “Defense Language  
Transformation Roadmap” creates a cadre of “Senior Language  
Authorities,” soldiers ... to translate enemy emails from Farsi,  
monitor cell phone conversations in Southern Kurdish, and infiltrate  
North Korean espresso bars. ...The last language weapon that the army  
is developing ... is the civilian Language Corps.  This linguistic  
ready reserve will be mobilized “during times of national need or  
emergency” and flown to hot spots around the world, where they will  
translate the confessions of captured insurgents, explain to local  
populations that we come as liberators, and reinforce the linguistic  
weaponry of American troops through dictations and pop quizzes."

Read it all on

the Web of Language

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

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