Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Document Creation Date: 
December 9, 2016
Document Release Date: 
January 3, 2001
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Publication Date: 
August 1, 1971
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PDF icon CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2.pdf1.15 MB
Approved For Release Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 LANGUAGE HIGHLIGHTS FIRST ISSUE AUGUST 1971 PUBLISHED PERIODICALLY BY THE LANGUAGE SCHOOL OFFICE OF TRAINING 25X1A 25X1A INQUIRIES, COMMENTS, AND CONTRIBUTIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE EDITOR, EXTENSION 3271, ROOM 406, BUILDING. Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 CONTENTS LANGUAGE INCENTIVE PROGRAM 1 ALl. LANGUAGES ARE EQUALLY DIFFICULT 3 TA!'ES .TAPES . TAPES SELF STUDY MATERIALS FOUR SPOTTERS ONLY ARE WE LOSING OUR LANGUAGE CAPABILITY? BAHLT? BAHLT? WHAT MEANS BAHLT ? KNOW YOUR IDIOMS 10 FOREIGN LANGUAGES AT STATE 11 Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 C O N F I D E N T I A L Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 25X1A On 12 March 1971 a new Agency-wide program was initi- ated to spur the development of proficiencies in languages which the Agency has in short supply -- or for which a future shortage is anticipated. This is not the first time, of course, that the Agency has offered monetary awards for language. proficiency. In 1957-63 over $765,000 was paid out to personnel who could demonstrate through a proficiency test that they had achieved or maintained reading or speak- ing skills in a modern language. Perhaps the most benefi- cial effect of that program was that we found out for the first time how many people there were in the Agency who had at ].east some foreign language proficiency. we also learned that even though we have a good supply of speak:ers of most languages, the employee with a language skill i:: not always in the job that requires it. The pur- pose of the new program, then, is not only to encourage more people to study languages, but to get people to learn specific languages to meet specific requirements in specific components. The new program differs principally from the old in that: 1. The new regulation does not provide cash aw,srds for the maintenance o s ills that an employee already has, but only for the achievement of new skills. 2. The new program is not on a voluntary basis: to be eligible for an award an individual must be designated by his component to achieve specific skills at the level of proficiency determined by the compo- nent (which also provides the funds for the award). Also different from the old program is the fact that cash awards will not be paid for new skills in all lan- guages. Each Directorate establishes its own list of incentive languages, approved by the Deputy Director con- cerned, according to needs reported by operating officials. The lists are subject to constant review and revision, so the be:;t source of information about the current list of awardak~le languages in your Directorate is your Senior Training Officer. BE.cause languages differ, incentive languages have been grouped into three categories, according to the degree of difficulty each poses for the English-speaking studeni~. The languages in Group III are considered the most difficult far English-speakers to learn, and awards for achievement of skills in them are the highest. Awards are made in either the Specialized Program (e.g., Reading only, or Speaking only) or the Comprehensive Program, requiring competence in reading, speaking, and understand- ing. .Awards in the Specialized Program are half those in the Comprehensive. Following is the cash awards schedule in the Comprehensive Program: Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 ILLEGIB Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 C O N F I D E N T I A L Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 LANGUAGES ARE E9UALLY D~F1MT There is practical, as well as theoretical proof of the above state- ment. 'Phe theoretical argument goes: the more complex a language is, the more useful it is to those who speak it. The more distinctions a language makes, the more you can say in that language. But there is a limit -- the capacity of the human mind. Each person develops his language to the limit of his mental capacity; the language of a genius is more complex, grammatically as well as in its vocabulary, than the language of a moron. But this difference is merely quantitative, whereas there is a qualitative difference between lan- guage and animal communication on the level, for example, of dogs or crows. The practical proof runs as follows: if language A were actually less difficult than language B, child- ren would learn to speak it sooner than children learning language B. This does not happen. Children learn- ing to speak any language acquire grammatical mastery of it at about the same age. Depending on the definition of "grammatical mastery," this varies from five to seven years, but it is the same for any language. When we talk about "difficult languages," we are talking about the difficulty English speakers have in learning them. This is, of course, based on how different the language is from English. The more similar a language is to English, the easier it is for English speakers to learn, and vice versa. Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 STATINTL Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 "Probably not. And, Mr. - do you have any idea of 'your language aptitude?" "That's a fair indication of good aptitude. But what I'm leading up to is that the chances of your getting anywhere with self-study in Chinese are pretty slim. The Agency does not have any record of any student reach- ing a useable proficiency in Chinese in a part-time study program at the Language School, much less by self- study." "It depends on definitions, of course. A useable pro- ficiency is the 2-level in reading and speaking, and the estimated time it takes to reach this level in Chinese is 1500 hours of class work. At nine hours a week, the average part-time load, that comes to 167 weeks, or close to four years. And that is still far short of full pro- fe~;sional competence." "We take them full time for eleven months. At the end of that time, they are at the 2- level in speaking and 1+ in reading. Then they get an- otYier full year of full-time training- At the end of that time, they should have reached full profession- al competence." "Most people don't realize it. Of course, in a language like Spanish or German, you might expect to reach 2+ in speaking and 3 in reading in si:K or seven months of full- liked that pretty well. I guess that wasn't the inten- sive method, though, was it?" "Not really. I did pretty well in my German course, and as I say, I liked it." "Oh, it can't be as bad as that:" "How does the Agency train Chinese language people?" Approved For Release 2001/03/03 :CIA-RDP78-06217A000200010002-2 App~?~~ ~ -.r ~ ~Qf~1~~~ , ~~~?k ~. , r0 '~Q2-2 "That's not necessarily is ~ ue. You can lay a ~~~ery u.ae'ul foundation in ::~art- Lime study. Then when you ~i?oken you can really start ,~11= how much German could you really speak after two "? ~m afraid so. isvecial- ly since there are no really useable self-study marerials in Chinese." "There the picture is not nearly so bleak. A r;erson caho has had some language