[lg policy] Language policies of world militaries?

Dave Sayers dave.sayers at cantab.net
Thu Feb 19 20:06:15 UTC 2015


I recently linked an article about UK military language policy on this list.

"Army officers are being told they will not rise above the rank of Captain without 
learning a foreign language".

Article here: http://goo.gl/gFDATy

Dave

--
Dr. Dave Sayers
Senior Lecturer, Dept Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University
Honorary Research Fellow, Arts & Humanities, Swansea University (2009-2015)
dave.sayers at cantab.net | http://shu.academia.edu/DaveSayers



On 19/02/2015 17:01, lgpolicy-list-request at groups.sas.upenn.edu wrote:
> Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 09:04:39 -0800
> From: dzo at bisharat.net
> Subject: [lg policy] Language policies of world militaries?
> To: Language Policy List <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
> Cc: dzosborn at gmail.com
> Message-ID: <6dcd23d05af76acffb1c521d0c361813 at bisharat.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
>
> Is anyone aware of any compilation of information on language policies
> of militaries of the world? Particularly interested in multilingual
> countries in general, and in Africa, but broader information is always
> useful for comparisons.
>
> One might assume that militaries follow the official language policies
> of their respective states, but is this always so? One would also assume
> that some standard language policy would be necessary to avoid the babel
> effect at inopportune moments.
>
> However, in many countries, language skills down the ranks may vary. So
> are there cases where more than one language is officially used? De
> facto usage of other languages that is tolerated to facilitate
> communication in special circumstances, or training in order to
> facilitate optimal learning? Problems with diverse language use within
> militaries (case studies)?
>
> For example, when in Uganda a few years ago I heard specifically that
> only English and Swahili (both official in the country) were permitted
> in their armed forces (UPDF) and on their military facilities. On the
> other hand, US Army language policy is framed with a focus on operations
> in this way:
>
> "English is the operational language of the Army. Soldiers must maintain
> sufficient proficiency in English to perform their military duties.
> Their operational communications must be understood by everyone who has
> an official need to know their content, and, therefore, must normally be
> in English. However, commanders may not require Soldiers to use English
> unless such use is clearly necessary and proper for the performance of
> military functions. Accordingly, commanders may not require the use of
> English for personal communications that are unrelated to military
> functions."
> US Army Regulation 600–20 (2014) "Army Command Policy"
> http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r600_20.pdf
>
> Thanks in advance for any info.
>
> Don Osborn
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:23:00 -0500
> From: Harold Schiffman <haroldfs at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [lg policy] Language policies of world militaries?
> To: Language Policy List <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
> Message-ID:
> 	<CACqQ=kLa_YJOzx+P9p9k4cVKA4OR_Yje1JsXXyi3Zez4uXmeWQ at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> Dear Don,
>
> Regarding your question about language policies in military units, I did a
> quick googlesearch for India, and came up with the following:
>
>
> Language Policy and Linguistic Minorities in India  ... By Thomas Benedikter
>
> What he says in the book is that the Indian military uses a simplified
> version
> of Hindi and Urdu, with some English mixed in.  I think this is probably a
> continuation of what the policy was under the British.
>
> Another example is that of Czarist Russia, where the language policy of the
> military was Russian only, and I think this also continued to be the case in
> the Soviet period, and of course today as well.
>
> HS
>
> On Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 12:04 PM, <dzo at bisharat.net> wrote:
>
>> Is anyone aware of any compilation of information on language policies of
>> militaries of the world? Particularly interested in multilingual countries
>> in general, and in Africa, but broader information is always useful for
>> comparisons.
>>
>> One might assume that militaries follow the official language policies of
>> their respective states, but is this always so? One would also assume that
>> some standard language policy would be necessary to avoid the babel effect
>> at inopportune moments.
>>
>> However, in many countries, language skills down the ranks may vary. So
>> are there cases where more than one language is officially used? De facto
>> usage of other languages that is tolerated to facilitate communication in
>> special circumstances, or training in order to facilitate optimal learning?
>> Problems with diverse language use within militaries (case studies)?
>>
>> For example, when in Uganda a few years ago I heard specifically that only
>> English and Swahili (both official in the country) were permitted in their
>> armed forces (UPDF) and on their military facilities. On the other hand, US
>> Army language policy is framed with a focus on operations in this way:
>>
>> "English is the operational language of the Army. Soldiers must maintain
>> sufficient proficiency in English to perform their military duties. Their
>> operational communications must be understood by everyone who has an
>> official need to know their content, and, therefore, must normally be in
>> English. However, commanders may not require Soldiers to use English unless
>> such use is clearly necessary and proper for the performance of military
>> functions. Accordingly, commanders may not require the use of English for
>> personal communications that are unrelated to military functions."
>> US Army Regulation 600–20 (2014) "Army Command Policy"
>> http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r600_20.pdf
>>
>> Thanks in advance for any info.
>>
>> Don Osborn
>> _______________________________________________
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>
>
>
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