Comments: THE NEED

It's like that in Korea, too. There are fewer English speakers the farther you get from post, but if you're not the adventurous type, you can get by with just English. I did two tours, a rough total of 2 years, in Korea and I learned a miniscule amount of han-gul. I didn't try hard to learn Korean, but I also didn't try hard not to learn Korean. There just wasn't a compelling reason to learn the language. A soldier can easily spend his year in a highly Americanized environment - think of a Chinese immigrant who lives his entire life in a Chinatown, except all his public services and employment are provided in Chinese, too. And heck, when this immigrant travels away from Chinatown, he even takes an independently functional mini-Chinatown with him.

Tactically speaking, I thought the GIs in Korea should have been strongly encouraged and facilitated by Command to pick up a basic level of Korean and local familiarization. Even in peace-time and 50-plus years of USFK, it's not always easy to operate outside the gates. A troop can get lost and isolated in a hurry, and that's a scary feeling. If we went to war with nK, I could see American ops breaking down quickly at the tactical level with troops not knowing the language, area and people and trying to operate in a chaotic foreign environment.

Posted by Eric Chen at October 25, 2005 12:04 AM

I hate it when they start speaking in English on you. I just ignore them and keep speaking German. I took the time to start to learn the language so I am going to use it damn it! I am not perfect at it but at least I try. I work with Germans so I am exposed more to the language and if you want to know if you are being talked about you have to learn some. ;-)

It actually worked well when I was in Czech with a friend and her mom. It was the only mutual language the hotel staff and I knew.


Posted by Household6 at October 26, 2005 10:33 AM