Language leg up?
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  1. #1

    Language leg up?

    Hello Marines,
    I'll be starting the enlistment process at the beginning of next year and eventually "striving" to ship with a 26xx/27xx contract, but at the same time I know that with the current drawbacks throughout the military the chances are becoming ever more slimer with each day. Recently I've been looking into purchasing and learning basic Mandarin and Arabic through Rosetta Stone. My question is, would learning the basics of these languages give me a possible leg up, or increase my likelihood of signing an intelligence contract? The only concern I have is how it may be perceived learning both Mandarin and Arabic as a teenager. Would this slow any possible TSC in the future? I may be counting my chickens way before they hatch, but I would need to begin learning these languages now. Truly any and all insight will be appreciated.
    Thank you all for your service and time
    -Will

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  2. #2
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    Will,
    It's never to early to start and don't worry about who perceives you as anything.

    I know a 14 year old that speaks 5 languages fluently.

    If your looking for a linguist contract, of course it will help and it will not affect you getting a TSC.

    IMHO because I held a TSSC and was a Crypto Comm/Intel Marine, looking into my crystal ball at the future of the world through a Marines eye, I would be looking at studying Mandarin and Russian.

    Others will have opinions. This is mine. I speak 3, getting rusty on 2 of them but if you don't use em, you lose em.

    Best of luck to you.



  3. #3
    I really appreciate the advice. Thank you for all the insight.


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    Your welcome Will.
    Other Marines will be by to advise you also.

    Make sure you are learning at an accredited school so you can get those 15 College Credits you'll need.

    By the time your done you'll have 12,673 credits... Hahaha !!!



  5. #5
    Haha I understand, Sir. Thank you again.


  6. #6
    josephd
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    I don't think it will hurt you at all but it won't give you a "leg up" at all. Those types of MOS fields are based on your potential(ASVAB score) not on what you already know. Whatever the Corps/DOD wants you to know or learn they will teach you. If you want to learn it for your own good, go for it. But don't do it thinking it will help you get what you want out of the Marine Corps


  7. #7
    Ok, thank you Corporal.


  8. #8
    Besides the ASVAB, to become a linguist, you must also take and pass the DLAB at MEPS which is a language apptitude test. Never taken it myself but some on here who have claimed it was the hardest test they've ever taken. Also heard there is really no way to study/prepare for it. Can't say if studying languages now would improve your apptitude for that test but shouldn't hurt. Talk to your recruiter about the DLAB.

    Learning a language is very difficult; even more so if you are not immersed in it (living in that culture). I had to learn four separate languages while on embassy duty (Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portugese). They taught us French in Haiti but the average citizen there speaks Creole so we had to be familiar with that as well (my cook and gardner only spoke Creole). In my experience, learning more languages only made it more difficult (my brain got all mixed up trying to sort it all out). I have heard Mandarin is one of the most difficult languages of all to learn because of its myriad dialects. Having heard Arabic while in Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War makes me believe it is not much easier (the standard greeting was about all I ever learned). Taking on two such languages at the same time does not sound feasible to me. Better to focus on just one. The USMC is refocusing on the Asian/Pacific region so if I had to choose one I would go with Mandarin.

    Language training should not affect your clearance status. There may be a block on the application form asking about it but that would be about it.

    Best tip for learning a foreign language...long-haired dictionary (girlfriend)! And, it's a lot more fun than Rosetta Stone too!! There are Chinese girls everywhere these days. Happy hunting. Adios, adeu, chao.


  9. #9
    Haha thank you Master Sergeant. I've received a lot of helpful answers. I'll be trying my hand at Mandarin. Thanks again.


  10. #10
    As it stands currently, knowing languages prior to enlisting will not influence your MOS. The only thing that will do that is your ASVAB and DLAB scores. While many do consider the DLAB "unstudy-able," knowing parts of speech and language patterns can indeed help. There will however be parts on it that you'll just simply sit there dumbfounded, and it may come down to luck as to whether or not you understand what they are asking.

    If you end up being a linguist and going to DLI, you will be put into a language wherever the Marine Corps needs you or has vacancies. The Army and other branches in my opinion operate a bit smarter when it comes to their linguists, and capitalize on languages people already know by actually making enlistee's linguists in their known language. The Marine Corps, not so much. For example, a Corporal in my platoon has spoken Korean since he was born, got a 4/4 on the DLPT in Korean (note: that is a very impressive score), and even hung around DLI for quite a bit after he graduated to be a Korean instructor. Never the less, he is an Arabic linguist, because that's what the Marine Corps chose.

    Any languages you know prior to going to boot camp, you will eventually be able to DLPT on, and should you score high enough will rate FLP (foreign language pay,) so it would be nice to have that extra money in your pocket. However, as I stated, that will not influence your MOS. The best you can do is work with your recruiter, score well on the DLAB, and secure a contract to DLI. You won't know your language until you get there.

    Regards,


  11. #11
    Thank you Lance Corporal. I learned a lot from your post. I appreciate it.


  12. #12
    Will,

    As others have stated it's never too early to start (or late for that matter). I went to DLI not knowing a lick of Arabic while a few others in the class already had a pretty good base to start from. We also had two who were fluent in other languages like Korean and Mandarin. The pace there is so quick eventually the playing field levels out. If you are seriously concerned about learning one specific language you should look at the Army or Air Force since they can guarantee a target language contract. The DLAB will be your first hurdle and it's a tricky one. If you score over 100-110 then you should be eligible for all languages. DLI is no picnic, studying is a must and at least in my class drops/reclassifications were common. FWIW, my Arabic has become less and less useful, if I were to study a language today it would be Mandarin or Pashto for military purposes. For personal purposes/ease in civlian life Spanish is the way to go.
    Best advice I can give you is to learn the ins and outs of the English language. Understanding college level English is a huge boost when attending a place like DLI, if you are trying to learn proper English grammar while studying foreign vocabulary words as I did it is a difficult field to plow.


  13. #13
    I apologize for responding so late, Gunnery Sergeant. I really appreciate all the insight and advice.


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