Kit and caboodle

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed May 16 01:48:24 UTC 2007

for info on "kit and caboodle."

I wouldn't read too much into the hiring notices from DLIFC. I doubt you
could divine any long-range strategic plans from them. For one thing, they
reflect vacancies not size of staff in a particular language. They're hiring
at least one Hindi teacher, but how many Hindi teachers do they have? As you
point out, they aren't hiring for Urdu, but we don't know how many Urdu
teachers they currently have. If you looked at the notices over a period of
years, you might be able to spot trends, but a snapshot tells you nothing.

Also the DLI has responsibility for language instruction for all DoD
personnel, including intelligence analysts and defense attaches in
embassies--in fact these two groups probably make up the bulk of its
students. It doesn't just train translators for front-line operations in
war--the bulk of whom are supplied by allies or are local "hires."
(English-speaking Iraqi soldiers are assigned to US units to provide
translation.) Given the tensions between Pakistan and India (both nuclear
weapons states), of course the DoD would want some Hindi instructors for
intelligence purposes. I don't know the size of the defense attache office
in New Delhi, but I'll bet its pretty large.
And given the close military cooperation between Israel and the US, having
Hebrew speakers makes sense too. (And you can bet the DoD was listening in
on Israeli military communications during the war with Hezbollah last

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Landau, James
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 9:19 AM
Subject: Kit and caboodle

My daughter asked me for information on the origin of the phrase "kit
and caboodle".  Can anybody help

Aside to Wilson Gray:  there is only one Defense Language Institute,
although during Vietnam it had branches at Fort Bliss, Texas and
somewhere in the Washington DC area..  Its Web site,, certainly seems to show it is alive and well:
"DLIFLC is home to more than 3,500 military and civilian students
annually and employs over 1,600 faculty and staff. We are in the
business of teaching language to the finest group of students in the
United States and welcome the opportunity to show the public why we are
the premier foreign language institute in the world."

On the Web site is the announcement:
"Now Hiring Teachers for Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean,
Kurdish, Pashto, and Persian."
What this says about future US foreign policy is unclear.  Arabic,
Kurdish, Dari, and Pashto are spoken in Iraq and Afghanistan, so they
are no surprise.  Neither is Korean or Chinese.  Hindi seems a little
unlikely - we don't have troops stationed in India, do we?  I'd expect
more interest in Urdu than in Hindi, but maybe they already have Urdu
staff.  Hebrew also seems unlikely - are we expecting to be involved in
another Arab-Israeli war?
     - James A. Landau

The American Dialect Society -

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