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DLIFLC graduates stronger Spanish linguists
|DLIFLC graduates stronger Spanish linguists|
Eight students of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, who are the first class of the Spanish Basic Course Extension Pilot program, graduated Feb. 2.
The course was extended 10 weeks to allow teachers to work with students to gain higher language proficiency levels and acquire better regional knowledge of the Caribbean, Central, and South America.
While Spanish is the official language spoken in 21 countries world-wide, 19 of those nations fall into the United States’ Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility that includes providing contingency planning, operations and security cooperation in the region. The area ranges from just outside the United States’ southern border and extends just above Antarctica.
In order to execute the mission, SOUTHCOM Commander Gen. Doug Fraser, is required to use an arsenal of tools. One important tool in his bag is the Spanish linguist. According to Fraser, a linguist helps build communication and the building of relationships through partnerships.
“Learning another language is not just about grammar and syntax. It is also about making the effort to connect, to communicate, and to understand. Making that effort is one of the most powerful tools we have to build true partnerships,” said Fraser.
Currently, two more extended Spanish classes are in session as a part of the program. After the third class graduates, agencies interested in more capable Spanish linguists will determine whether the course should be lengthened.
“The additional 10 weeks will make a more solid language specialist. Ultimately, the linguist will have more time to process the language and I think it will give them the opportunity to go in more deeply and help them have more automaticity that is often discussed in language acquisition,” said Dr. Deanna Tovar, European and Latin America school dean.
During the extended course, additional curriculum was inserted into the course that allowed students more time on task in treating specific topics, as well as deal with more complex grammar concepts. Students were also given more time work on regionally-focused research projects and participate in and a four-week immersion trip to Puerto Rico.
“The immersion was a definite positive impact in terms of cultural and speaking ability. It served to make them [Spanish linguists] more well-rounded language professionals. They got the street level language skills that can’t be replicated easily in the classroom environment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Bossart, the chief military language instructor of the school.
Story and Picture by Brian Lamar, Strategic Communications