By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
Feb. 11, 2009 - The Defense Department's premier language school in Monterey, Calif., has launched several new initiatives designed to foster language and cultural outreach from as close as its backyard all the way to troops stationed in South Korea. One domestically focused program the Defense Language Institute, or DLI, rolled out recently is a weekly AM radio program called Salute to the Armed Forces.
The host, Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian Lamar, said the show is designed to connect military and civilian cultures.
"I want to show the local community that servicemembers are not only defending our nation, but are also real people with families who have many of the same problems in life," he said.
Lamar will interview uniformed servicemember guests on Wednesdays, discussing a range of topics that span military life. In the show's debut last week, two military moms spoke about the difficulties of balancing their military and family lives.
Tonight, Army Sgt. 1st Class Kristi Folowell is slated to speak about her career as a military linguist and her experience in Iraq. A live stream of the show can be heard from 6-8 p.m. at http://www.knry.com/StreamingMain.htm.
Meanwhile, DLI has launched two linguistic and cultural programs that now are accessible to the public.
"Legends and Folktales" is an interactive Web site that features animated versions of stories that form the cultural foundations of nearly three dozen countries. Short, narrated flash-animation films give viewers a rudimentary understanding of some of the ancient stories that still resonate strongly in national identities today. The films are available at http://fieldsupport.lingnet.org/products/LF1.
Similarly, DLI's "Countries in Perspective" is a Web-based tool designed to provide basic facts about countries and their geography, history, economy, society and security arrangements. The program, available at http://www.lingnet.org/areaStudies/perspectives/default.asp, is objective and fact-based, and doesn't editorialize, according to a DLI news release.
DLI officials also announced they've begun testing its Beta version of a Korean language and culture guide. These guides, known as Headstart Programs, already are available in Iraqi, Dari, Pashtu, Farsi and Chinese. The kits provide nonlinguist servicemembers a computer-based, self-paced method of receiving the equivalent of the first two weeks of training that students receive at the DLI campus.
The self-guided program takes 80 to 100 hours to complete, according to a DLI news release, and can be obtained at https://lmds.dliflc.edu/home.aspx.
"After completing the course, soldiers should be able to hit the ground in a new country with enough language skills to conduct business and have limited communication with civilians in the local language," the release states.