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Thread: Best foreign languages to learn

  1. #1
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    Best foreign languages to learn

    Hell Gents,

    I am strongly considering getting my 4 yr degree before I enlist and try to get a seat at BUD/s. If I do so, I may major in a foreign language. Or two. I believe this would make me more valuable to the Navy, and SEALs, and several ways. Do you think I'm correct? And most importantly, which language do you feel would be the best to learn? I am already well on my way to speaking Spanish, though many people know that langauge.

    PLEASE I do not need input from a bunch of 14 yr old wanna be's. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member thrill's Avatar
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    This should answer your questions.

    http://www.sealswcc.com/forums/showt...1147#post11147

    Hope this helps and best of luck.

  3. #3
    Ryknow
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    The best language I think to learn would be chinese. If you read the job description for being a SEAL I believe you will learn foreign languages. But for you I'd stick with Spanish. Because you do need a foreign language to get into a university I believe.

  4. #4
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryknow View Post
    The best language I think to learn would be chinese... ...Because you do need a foreign language to get into a university I believe.
    Please explain why Chinese would be the best language to learn. And are you saying that if you don't know a foreign language you can't go to college??

  5. #5
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    I have a related question. To receive foreign language proficiency pay, one has to score at least a 2/2 on the DLPT. For a category 4 language this is the equivalent of 12 college courses. My question is, to the teams, would it be more valuable to speak one language at a 2/2 level or three languages at a 1/1 level (assuming all are category 3 or 4 languages)? For something along the lines of Army SF, where communication with natives is more prominent, it makes sense that near-fluency is necessary.

    I would guess that SEALs are more likely to use a language in a brief, spontaneous, interrogation than in an in depth foreign internal defense scenario. What's more beneficial, variety or specificity?

    I forgot to mention that a 1/1 level on the DLPT is the equivalent of 4 college courses. Clearly there is a point of diminishing return.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JZachariahG's Avatar
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    I don't want to go officer, however I am learning Russian, decided to learn Russian because I am 2nd generation Kozak, and my swim coach a former NCIS special agent that worked in the ONI said that the Naval Special Warfare community would love that and that it would be a good language to know. Just what I see from my little corner of the world.
    "Do the right thing even if it means dying like a dog when no one's there to see you do it." Vice Admiral James Stockdale, Navy Pilot

  7. #7
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Learning a foreign language is a smart idea. Those who are multi-lingual will have an edge against others competing for a SEAL contract.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
    John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Quote Originally Posted by NotNuke View Post
    I have a related question. To receive foreign language proficiency pay, one has to score at least a 2/2 on the DLPT. For a category 4 language this is the equivalent of 12 college courses. My question is, to the teams, would it be more valuable to speak one language at a 2/2 level or three languages at a 1/1 level (assuming all are category 3 or 4 languages)? For something along the lines of Army SF, where communication with natives is more prominent, it makes sense that near-fluency is necessary.

    I would guess that SEALs are more likely to use a language in a brief, spontaneous, interrogation than in an in depth foreign internal defense scenario. What's more beneficial, variety or specificity?

    I forgot to mention that a 1/1 level on the DLPT is the equivalent of 4 college courses. Clearly there is a point of diminishing return.
    Proficiency is one language is preferable. You will pick up some other languages as you deploy in foreign countries, and language school is now a mandatory part of training that comes immediately after graduation from SQT. The SEAL mission is evolving and there is more interaction with foreigners than ever befoer.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
    John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

  9. #9
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Quote Originally Posted by JonK View Post
    Hell Gents,

    I am strongly considering getting my 4 yr degree before I enlist and try to get a seat at BUD/s. If I do so, I may major in a foreign language. Or two. I believe this would make me more valuable to the Navy, and SEALs, and several ways. Do you think I'm correct? And most importantly, which language do you feel would be the best to learn? I am already well on my way to speaking Spanish, though many people know that langauge.

    PLEASE I do not need input from a bunch of 14 yr old wanna be's. Thanks.
    SEALs operate almost everywhere, so knowing a foreign language is very important. That's why we've incorporated language school into mandatory training. If you want to get a head start, which is advisable, try a Chinese dialect, or Tagalog, or an Arabic dialect such as Urdu. African languages would be another good choice. Even Spanish.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
    John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Mr. Williams,
    How are language skills taken into account when giving out SO contracts? Do you bring it up to a recruiter and are you then given a test of some sort? If you are given a test, what appropriate scores are needed to be considered proficient and have that on your file come draft time?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Lion's Avatar
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    To add onto thegriffin45's query to Mr. Williams,

    When do they test you on your language skills? At MEPS? RTC? I can speak at a basic conversational level in three other languages (Spanish, French, Chinese), but I don't remember much of the grammar, so I wouldn't mind brushing up on my writing and reading skills before getting tested.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it." - Thucydides
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  12. #12
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    There are two types of language skills tests. One, the DLAB, tests your ability to learn or understand a language. The other is a specific language proficiency test. You can take care of this at the same time you are taking your ASVAB and going through medical exams at the MEPS station. Just mention it to your recruiter.
    The MEPS station may have to order a test for you if you are asking for a proficiency test in say, Italian or Swahili. If you meet the minimum criteria (I don't have the latest threshold score available, but your recruiter will know) you may qualify for additional language pay after you enlist, but in the short term a documented proficiency in a foreign language will be looked upon favorably in the SEAL draft. It could potentially give you an edge over another candidate with similar traits but no foreign language proficiency. In this era of highly competitive drafts, any advantage is important.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
    John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

  13. #13
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    The test is usually administered at MEPS.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
    John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

  14. #14

    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    I realize that any language is better than no language but would you put french in that same category of importance. its used in a lot of african countries i know

  15. #15
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    If you're looking for a valuable language to learn, type "Critical Languages" into your search engine and it should give you a list.

  16. #16
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Williams View Post
    Proficiency is one language is preferable. You will pick up some other languages as you deploy in foreign countries, and language school is now a mandatory part of training that comes immediately after graduation from SQT. The SEAL mission is evolving and there is more interaction with foreigners than ever befoer.
    Mr. Williams,
    Is this a new policy? I know there has always been the possibility of DLI for PRODEV, but I thought that was only for a few (not mandatory for everyone). How long is the language school?
    Thanks for the info.

  17. #17
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Mr. Williams,

    Since many candidates are getting a head start on a foreign language, are preferences taken into account when attending language school after SQT? For example, if someone studied Swahili for six months before shipping out would he be able to continue learning it at the school or would he be assigned a language to learn?

    Thanks,
    GOS

  18. #18
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    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    The post-SQT language school has been in place for about a year. I can't tell you much about it, other than it is required. I can't tell you how the languages are chosen or why they are assigned to specific SEALs.
    Navy SEAL & SWCC Scout Team

    "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
    John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961
    35th President of U.S. 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

  19. #19

    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Dont get on to me about this cause I know Mr.Williams has already kinda answered this, Im just looking for specification. So I already know a little Russian and part of the Russian alphabet, but i speak a little Hebrew also, and Know the entire alphabet by heart from certain things I have done in the past.

  20. #20

    Re: Best foreign languages to learn

    Mr. Williams or any other admin. the languages my college offers that are best suited for NSW are SPANISH and RUSSIAN, which do you think would be a better choice if my goal is to better my chances of being drafted. Also, would two courses in either language lasting two semesters or totaling 8 months of instruction be enough to reach the level MEPS is testing for? How fluent do you have to be in your chosen language?
    "Nothing on earth can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."

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