Zulu Καλώς Ήρθατε Military Language & Culture Col. Ladislav Chaloupsky, PhD Defense...

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Zulu Καλώς Ήρθατε Col. Ladislav Chaloupsky, PhD Defense Language Institue, Director The Czech Republic
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Transcript of Zulu Καλώς Ήρθατε Military Language & Culture Col. Ladislav Chaloupsky, PhD Defense...

  • Zulu Military Language & Culture Col. Ladislav Chaloupsky, PhDDefense Language Institue, DirectorThe Czech Republic

  • Knowledge of the cultural terrain can be as important as, and sometimes even more important than, the knowledge of the geographical terrain. This observation acknowledges that the people are, in many respects, the decisive terrain, and that we must study that terrain in the same way that we have always studied the geographical terrain.

    General David H. Petraeus

  • If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.Sun TzuThe real target in war is the mind of the enemy commander, not the bodies of his troops.Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart

  • The Military's Cultural Impact

  • Abbreviations Situation Culture VBIEDVehicle borne improvised explosive device

    TBIEDTruck borne improvised explosive device

    HBIEDHouse borne improvised explosive device

    DBIEDDonkey borne improvised explosive device

    SVBIEDSuicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device

    STBIEDSuicide truck borne improvised explosive device

    AAIEDAnti-armor improvised explosive device



  • Black Adder Final Scene

  • Different Strokes.

    neh (sounds like no in English) = yes in Greek Ochi ( sound like okay in English) = no in Greek shaking of head which = yes in Bulgarian but no in English nodding of the head which = no in Bulgarian but yes in English

  • Our Finest Hour



  • PMs Question Time

  • Proficiency in the Language of War & Inherent Cultures Example of 2 Way CommunicationSender (encodes), Message Receiver (decodes), Receiver becomes Sender and encodes, Receiver (decodes)


    ESL / Multi-cultural environ / Noise / Static / Multiple Coms / Fatigue / Stress / Distractions / Incorrect Radio SOPs & Terminology / Read Back / Hear Back / Combat / Deadlines

  • Confusion

    Expressions with duplicate meanings She said she, Aircraft Multiple meanings for words - homophones, brake/break and homographs, content and content.Compound terms - Go ahead can be intended to urge speaking or forward motion.Terminological imprecision - Is the holding bay the same place as the mustering point?Linguistic variety - Many different ways of asking repetition Say again, What?Numbers - Often ambiguous prepositions like at are the only clue Turn six Turn at six

  • Cultural Clashes and Aircraft Crashes Life or Death?

    Cultural capability speeds battle command

    Reduces confusion

    Contributes to mutual respect and Esprit de Corps

    Cultural barriers cause difficulties for the MNF commander

  • Fatal Example of Miscomms ATC Readback:Foxtrot Xray Hotel, avoiding action turn 270 immediately, say again immediately, heading 270, traffic at 10 OClock, 5 miles crossing left to right, indicating low altitude, confirm visual, readback, Tower Out.

    Last words From Flight E862(Bahraini Pilot Of Emirates CFIT Crash 2002) Foxtrot Xray Hotel turning to 70, descending left 2800

  • In 1977, at Tenerife, heavy accents and improper terminology among a Dutch KLM crew, an American Pan Am crew and a Spanish air traffic controller led to the worst aviation disaster in history, in which 583 passengers perished.

    In 1980, another Spanish air traffic controller at Tenerife gave a holding pattern clearance to a Dan Air flight by saying "turn to the left" when he should have said "turns to the left" - resulting in the aircraft making a single left turn rather than making circles using left turns. The jet hit a mountain killing 146 people.

    In 1993, Chinese pilots flying a U.S.-made MD-80 were attempting to land in northwest China. The pilots were baffled by an audio alarm from the plane's ground proximity warning system. A cockpit recorder picked up the pilot's last words: "What does 'pull up' mean?"

    Fatal Example of Langkills

  • Would you have given the order?Recon TeamYeah, we got one leaving the buildingPursuit Team 1Suspect at Blue OneCommanderThats a go.Terrorist Attack at Blue TwoPursuit Team 2Terrorist heading for Blue Two Say again, hes going for the trainArmed Officers

    Langkill ? Miscoms ? Noun Verb Pronoun Adrenalin Phrasal Verb Context

  • CONTEXT OF SITUATION AND CONTEXT OF CULTURE I work under stress (wars, emergency situations)chain of command and leadershipmilitary professionalism (the increasingly technological nature of military organization requires experts in certain areas)motivation to serve (economic reasons, ethical reasons)gender and military service (number of women integrated in regular armed structures has been increasing every year), race and ethnicity

  • CONTEXT OF SITUATION AND CONTEXT OF CULTURE IIsocial status of speakersspeech event and social conventions governing itsocial-cultural and physical environmentprevious discourse between the speakers or known to themprevious intent of the speaker

  • I come from an old military family: one of my ancestors fell at Waterloo.


    Someone pushed him off Platform 9 and 3/4s.



    Words are but things, and a small drop of ink, ... But which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. Don Juan, 1819

  • The Fiord GAA banjie used in the M4A3 was an 8- cinnamon, liquid-cooled trampoline banjie. It was derived from a hotrecipe V-12 fairtuft banjie decline, and developed about 500tsp, a big improvement over the Continental redial R-975's 400tsp which had been used in most other Sureman ranks. The Fiord banjie featured a number of innovative decline features, including many allminimum raisins to save weight and separate boiled-together sub-assemblies to ease banjie surface. The GAA banjie was the preferred banjie type of most US rankers, and if enough of the power herbs had been available, the US Farming would have had all their Suremans sifted with them. Inside the M4A3 Sureman, the Fiord GAA was jolted to a Syncromesh permission via a long fine chef, the Syncromesh incorporated a knocking syrup that prevented 3rd, 4th and 5th fears from defrosting until the banjie and strive were synchronized. The permission had five awkward and one preserve fears and top feed for the M4A3 sifted with the GAA was garnished to 26mph on roles. Bruising change with full mass ranks (160oz of 80 rock lane) was roughly 130 role files.A Taste Of It


    *Mr. Chairman, dear colleagues. Kalimera / Kalispera / Good morning. This presentation is on the topic of Culture and Language and the aim is to point out some difficulties that may occur if we neglect to include cultural aspects into our teaching programs. Although as a military officer, this is but one perspective, the validity is in fact general - in that the theme suggests that the intrinsic value of Language is worthless, no matter what the context, without the camaraderie of the Culture itself i.e. that inherent in the comprehension of a single utterance, is the ability to firstly determine not only the culture in which it is set (be it Singapore or London) but the context in which it is derived and vice versa. To highlight my point, I shall say it in the language bequeathed to us from wars past, hence adding further to the discussion, by demonstrating, through my choice of vocabulary, a culture's impact on the language (in this case the military's) and, by default, the national cultures influence and inherent value on the language and the necessity in truly being versed in all aspects of the Culture to fully understand it.*Whilst quite possibly cannon fodder for my soldiers in arms today, i.e. you, the audience, the target is to show that the conquering of only one of the two aspects, be it culture or language - is but half the battle and that, to fully understand a tongue, necessitates not just the total emersion in and brief of the culture from which it originates, but an understanding of its firepower over the centuries. In short, for example, were one to investigate the etymology of the corporate world in which we live in today, words such as company would highlight the fact that the language is soaked in the cultural heritage of the military.And here, in General Petreuss, and on the following slide Sun Tzus, and Captain Harts own words, one can see that acknowledging this fact is indeed half the battle.

    *Perhaps, however, music would be a better analogy for this perspective: a tune to you, for example, may invoke a completely different emotion and for this purpose the introductory slide was actually carefully chosen to prove the point, for every British School boy of the 1970s was brought up on the Epic film to which this music debuted: Zulu - the theme to which Stanley Baker and Michael Cain fought Catawayo's Impis, in what is now South Africa, and a theme that is not just instantaneously identified by them but readily recognized for its connotation.Equally identifiable to the collective value of Culture and Language is humor, as seen in the next short video clip:

    *Culture is the intangible framework of beliefs, attitudes, values, and rules in which a group of people operate and language is inherent in the communicative aspect of this phenomenon. Further examples would be the coining of acronyms that are conceived amidst the clashes of such cultures:*As we can see, not only does language change over time, it also has different forms that exist simultaneously and each speaker learns a version that is distinctive to his or her particular social, regional, or cultural background. Language is constantly changing, not only from region to region and from social group to social group, but also from person to person. In other words, it reflects the context of the situation and the context of the culture at a moment in time. Military examples may be demonstrated with abbreviations related to explosive devices and how and where these explosives are used.DBIED, to underscore the point, was sourced from relatively recent documentation coming from Afghanistan.*However, cultural knowledge is also subject to constant change. For example, certain categories of artifacts such as guns or tanks have changed so much that people of, say, two generations back, would be unable to recognize them today. So, whilst the cultural categories have shifted, e.g. with the invention of the chain gun or the turret-less tank, we do not however feel that the words gun and tank have actually changed in their meaning. *However, whilst the language, indeed even the nuances, may well be fully understood by speakers of the language, my argument is that its poignancy will forever strike a deeper note in those that share that culture and, hence, often be devoid of meaning to the foreign student no matter what his or her ability. Perhaps, more importantly, the parody is unlikely to ever be shared. Yes, for example, the following slide is indeed funny but its significance to those that the language is designed by and for - entails something far deeper than mere humor.*The fact is, that for a visitor to the language to try even to parody such a national treasure, indeed even empathize with it, might, quite possibly, for ever be deemed a faux pas too far. In this sense, therefore, although some of the greatest English Writers have in fact been foreigners (Joseph Conrad, Vladimir Nabokov and perhaps even the essays of Voltaire, come to mind), there will forever be a line at which only the indigenous cultures of that language can cross and that the student of the language must forever be prepared to stand behind. It could well be argued that English may no longer belong to the English in todays world but it is indisputable that no matter how much influence foreigners now have on the language as a franca lingua, that it will only be the English themselves to determine the boundaries and the cultural aspect of it for the future. /Although I have used English examples to accentuate this point, it in fact matters not where one comes from or, if indeed, English is ones mother tongue or not, and it is in these increasingly familiar situations that Culture overrides language: Mr. Japanese, for example, will speak as convincingly from his cultural standpoint consciously or not, in English to Mr. Korea, as he would do in Japanese were the other to understand his mother tongue. On top of this, even for such English conducted by foreigners between each other, so much is lost from the cultural aspect of comprehension that misunderstandings often renders it redundant. Now, given that this happens between sub-units of English Speakers themselves, it is hardly surprising. In fact, culture is to such an extent an inextricable part of language that the label of English itself is an injustice - for example, in that lovers English could well be described as a totally different language to that used by coal miners or soldiers. / A classic example of this would be the Englishmans first dilemma with the language on visiting the very place where we are today.*Hence, as a NATO officer and serving at a time in which English is the predominant means of communication, the interest in exactly how much meaning can be lost is paramount.In the following slide, for example, and continuing for now on the Anglo-centric theme, it is not just the accent, intonation, choice of vocabulary, tense and purr of the voice that pulls so hard at the soul of an Englishman and leaves the foreigner at sea, but the culture that it has since spawned - that can only forever render the meaning far more significant to a native than a foreigner no matter how skilled their ability this is demonstrated in Churchills great speech of June 18th 1940.*

    What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

    *Another aspect when speaking about culture and language relates to different connotations. For example the French word contribuable and the English word taxpayer denote the same thing, but connotate something else. Taxpayer is a word descriptive of physical action, of something which might have been seen with the eyes. It evokes the image of a man paying money at, for instance, a tellers window. Contribuable, however, embodies an abstract principle. It evokes not just an image, but a thought, the thought that all citizens must contribute to the welfare of the nation of which they are a part.Let us consider the connotations of these two words in the context of NATO. The reaction from an American would be: Does the man who pays get a fair return on his money? Or, in other words, is the Mutual Assistance Program really the best way of getting the most security for the least cost? But for the French, it would be quite different: Does everyone contribute equally to the common cause? An analogy of denoting the same thing, would be the American military order Secure the building as it could be interpreted in a myriad of ways: Army personnel, for example, would go into the building, lock the windows and doors, and put a guard in front whilst Marine personnel would attack the building and take prisoners and Navy personnel would just lock the building and leave. And the Air Force personnel? Well, Air Force personnel would merely ask the owner of the building about the price with a view to renting it. *This slide describes how dangerous such miscommunications can be in a combat situation: In this scenario, there are three NATO soldiers of different nationalities, an American, a Brit and a Czech, each of them covering a given arc of fire i.e. by each of them concentrating on a particular field of fire, the tactic enables the three of them to cover a much wider arc than would have otherwise been possible. / Imagine though when, all of a sudden, the Brit suddenly shouts stoppage! And by shouting stoppage he is indicating his inability to fire due to a jammed weapon and is basically informing his colleagues that his arc is now vulnerable and needs covered. / Unfortunately, however, only the Brit is aware of what stoppage means and his good intentions lead to the Czech ceasing fire and, bar an element of curiosity from the American, no compensatory action there either. Hence, the result is that all three of them, with two fields of fire now uncovered, are unable to operate as a team and could well end up outgunned putting themselves and possibly others in mortal danger.Believe me, whilst I would endearly enjoy to believe the opposite, that English is merely a means to communicate, a means to build bridges between nations and a rounded knowledge of it sufficient to do so, as a military officer, it would not only be nave, but both dangerous whilst operating in the language and a folly to presume so. Hence, the conundrum between linguistics and languages; the fact that the former is a science and the latter an art in that, whilst science can tell you how, it can but only indicate as to why? In all honesty, can any person here bar the English themselves explain to me the humor in the next clip which, despite fully understanding the language and having consulted with a native speaker, I still fail to identify the humor within it.. *Nevertheless, it can clearly be seen that the intangibles of a language lie in the culture of its origins and the fact that languages are far from static and such, as living entities, subject to the indigenous forces of culture, they form boundaries to which access is highly subjective or, at best, limited. An example of this would be the perceived cultural tendency of the English Speaking Nations to stand alongside one another. From a military standpoint, the implications are, therefore, enormous, especially given the current challenges under which NATO is having to operate but, here, I shall develop just the perception of meaning as conditioned by context in the field the reason being and in the hope of portraying the day to day difficulties faced by troops of all nations when dealing with language. *Imagine a student, a beginner, who needs to get an SLP 3 in line with Stanag 6001, to reach a certain level of competency that enables him to perform his job to the same level of proficiency in English as in Czech, for example, and realize this; that the military students goal is far more complicated than that of the average student; for, amidst the obstacles that every student of a foreign language has to negotiate, are the military intangibles that he must manage and conquer in order to affect a two-way communication: environment, fatigue, stress, and culture not only compound the difficulties in communication but, in fact, lie at the heart of them.*So, on top of having to manage the lexicon and syntax for that level, he is also burdened with the semantics and pragmatics and here are some examples, the classic being, especially with English its ambiguity and, for those of you flying home this week, consider the possible interpretations of the following:Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking.we shall be going down shortly for our final approach and expect to be on the ground in a few minutes.And.as if this isnt enough to have us quaking in our seats..the flight hostesses usually follow it up with that wonderfully creepy double-entendre, "We'll be landing shortly! *Staying with the aeronautical theme, this title was chosen to illustrate an aspect of the problem. Are the words clashes and crashes forms of the present tense or plural nouns? What are clashes and how many aircraft are there? Believe it or not but 70% of aircraft disasters are attributed to human error and, of these, 30% are attributed to miscoms.Over the years, countless operational errors have resulted from inappropriate communications provision, inadequate procedures and poorly worded messages and many lives have been sacrificed in the process. Because of this, it is in fact doubtful now that Natural Language, which is multi-purpose and inexact, stands as an appropriate medium for operational communication and hence the increasing use of communications technology in the field.The consequences of misunderstanding language as the somatic thread that holds a culture together can, as said, be disastrous in the military and the following, are just a few examples to demonstrate the seriousness of the fact that language really does predetermine what we see in the world from the context of our culture and, in effect, filters the reality around to the degree that we see the real world, predominantly, in the categories of our language as determined by our culture and mother tongue.*This fatal ad hoc error of a pilot shows that, instead of turning 270, he turned to 70. Furthermore, he also misunderstood the rest of the conversation, otherwise he would have realized that turning to 70 was an error.*And this is the result and just one of the many tragedies that have been due to miscoms from the death of Thomas Becket to the Charge of the Light Brigade.*All of the above examples are the result of "language barriers and demonstrate that if people are not aware of the potential for such problems, they are even more likely to fall victim to failing to communicate effectively across cultures. *Effective communication with people of different cultures is challenging. Cultures provide people with ways of thinking--ways of seeing, hearing, and interpreting the world. Thus the same words can mean different things to people from different cultures, even when they talk the "same" language. Furthermore, when the languages are different, and translation has to be used to communicate, the potential for misunderstandings increases. Another ad hoc fatal error resulting from miscommunication and possibly tension and stress is depicted on this slide. *Each culture has its own rules about proper behavior which affect verbal and nonverbal communication and, in this sense, the military represents the culture of a society; equally, within this society it is the environment, or we could say context of the situation and context of the culture, that has a deep impact on discourse and meaning. Different cultures, therefore, regulate the art of communication differently and the military environment can be characterized in the areas depicted on this and the following slide. *So, does military culture matter? Little attention has been given to it, yet, it may be one of the most important factors in determining a society and that societys culture and language, not only in the results of it effectiveness on the battlefield, but in the role it plays during times of peace. Stated simply, military culture comprises the ethos and professional attributes derived from both experience and intellectual study, that contribute to a societys, common understanding of the nature of war. Less easily studied than defined, its influence on culture and language however, is almost always the result of long-term factors, rarely measurable and often obscure both to historians and to those in uniform. obscure, that is, until a war begins. *The examples, so far, have been rather serious, so heres a little cultural joke to lighten the content and further add to the debate. Basically, it revolves around the place-name of Waterloo and that, whilst most would certainly know the Battle of Waterloo, the last Battle of the Napoleonic Wars, and that some may even be familiar with the phrase to meet ones Waterloo which means to suffer a serious defeat, few would know that it is one of Londons old Victorian Train Stations. And, to add a little more flavor. I added and three quarters to highlight the point, in that only those familiar with Mr. Potter will get the joke.*To conclude and given that we are in the Land of Byron, I think it would be fitting to finish off with a quote from that most Cultured of English Speakers and, to leave you in absolutely no doubt as to how tricky the cultural aspect of SLP III and higher - can be. Have a look at the next slide, taken from the British Councils website entitled Sillycode.*So, to conclude, I shall finish off as I started, in the language that the military has bequeathed to us.give it a shot!Thank you to all of you and especially our hosts here today for your attention.*