I guess most of us here are dedicated amateurs. But these guys are freaking professionals!
It means 7 hours a day of hardcore high intensity language training (plus 2 hours homework) for up to 18 months. Entry selection is tough, and 1 in 4 students who do get in there don’t make it through!
Anyone wanna learn, let’s say, a dialect of Arabic? Or Pashto? Or North Korean? Or Chinese? Or Russian to C2 level - well enough to do interrogations, to listen in to things like radio traffic and to translate it quickly and accurately?
Maybe this is the proof that you actually can do it without leaving the state of California!
Wow. They’re studs.
I really can’t spend more than 2 hours a day on one language. I get super tired after.
18 months seems very reasonable though to master a language.
I was going to try and do this, but I decided to become an Officer instead. Plus, you have to pass an aptitude test called the DLAB, which I didn’t do so well on.
Yeah the training is rough, they just raised the standards to who can go so they can reduce the failure rate. For starters, they should grant some sort of request to languages to learn!
The program itself is great, but how the military utilizes them is a different story.
Here is a half hour film about the same school and its work in the early 1950s - going into more detail about the teaching methods used back then, etc.
It’s hard to escape the impression that the old-school methodology was best - notwithstanding that they didn’t have cutting-edge internet connected touch screen teaching boards, etc.
But maybe that’s just nostalgia?
Yeah, what impresses me about these guys is how practical and results-focussed they are.
In a university environment there is often a different mentality. It can be a case of grammar for grammar’s sake (rather than a need-to-know practical sake!) And if there is an actual end in view it is reading highbrow literature, more or less.
For these military dudes it’s all about real-world application - albeit in a relatively sophisticated way.