Language Barriers in Foreign Military Schools


Language barrier is a typical problem for a person who gets into a foreign country or the environment where people speak a language foreign to him/her. Without knowing the language of people one has to interact with, it seems to be impossible to communicate one’s ideas or even to turn to people for help. One of the best ways to study a foreign language is through its literature or at least written texts, since they contain the living experience of a separate culture and can help the foreigner interpret this culture like nothing else (Schild & Clifford, 2008). Language barriers in foreign military schools is a common occurrence; they can be a more serious problem than in regular schools, because they involve misunderstanding on the part of fulfilling orders and can even endanger a person’s life; on the other hand, there are always ways to understand a person and to share ideas with him/her without using any words.

Main body

To begin with, though language barrier is a typical problem for most of foreign students, it becomes more serious when it comes to foreign military schools. For instance, in foreign airborne schools, language barer can hinder the students’ understanding of the theory of parachute landing falls and jump commands. There is no doubt that the students are explained everything in a way which is accessible enough, but the problems with understanding may still arise. These problems are likely to grow into serious troubles with time.

One of such troubles is the application of knowledge practically, where the language barrier can constitute a menace to a student’s life. Paratroopers, just like combat engineers, do not have a right for a mistake. This is why if language barrier exists between a student and an instructor during the classes, it should be dealt with before getting to the drop zone. Since jump commands are pronounced in the instructor’s native language, the students should try to remember them perfectly for not to commit a fatal mistake. From this perspective, language barriers endanger people’s lives, but only when a person does not know other ways of communicating with foreign people except for words.

Human emotions may sometimes be more important in understanding than oral speech. The emotions are concealed everywhere – in the person’s facial expression, especially eyes, in his/her movements, and even in breath. In military schools, students are often exposed to fear of doing the task they were assigned with. This is the case with airborne schools where the students have to go through parachute jumping to graduate. During the jumping, foreign students can communicate by means of emotions, because each of them experiences approximately the same extent of fear and excitement. This is where the words are not needed and the communication takes place on a primitive level of gestures and facial expressions.

In sum, language barrier is a problem any foreign student encounters with when getting into a foreign school. Unfortunately, this problem can hardly be dealt with until the student acquires at least basic conversational skills in the foreign language. Language barriers can be even dangerous when in comes to military schools and, especially, airborne schools, where the students’ misunderstanding of the instructions may have serious consequences. However, communication between people who speak different languages is still possible due to their ability to express emotions by means of gestures and facial expressions.

Reference List

Schilb, J. & Clifford, J. Making Literature Matter: An Anthropology for Readers and Writers. 4th edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Schilb, J. & Clifford, J. Making Literature Matter: An Anthropology for Readers and Writers. 4th edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

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