You are what you speak
By Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 10, 2019
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. --
It has been said that you are truly fluent in a language when you think in it, but the Presidio of Monterey shows that to truly know a language you need to know its culture, and they showcased this during Language Day on May 10.
“Language Day is a fun way for students to demonstrate their skills and understanding that they have gained over months and months learning,” said Col. Wiley Barnes, 517th Training Group commander. “It also an opportunity for us to showcase, for the public, the caliber of people that we have serving in the U.S. military and teaching in this organization. It is amazing and difficult because the work that our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines will do when they leave here is determining life and death on the battlefield every day.”
Language Day is a measurable display of the competency and dedication the students put forth to learn their language. During the day there were performances of different cultural dances and songs put on by students. The students were immersed in their respective language and studied the culture to better understand the language.
“Defense Language Institute as a whole doesn’t just teach the language,” said SrA Michael Rikli, 311th Training Squadron office of the provost military support. “Linguists that come here learn their language from native speakers, where they not only teach the language, but also the culture of where they’re from. Language Day is the exact picture of that, and you’ll hear students singing songs in their language, but they also show off the culture and what they’ve learned. As a linguist I think that Language Day is a perfect showcase of the knowledge of culture and language for all of the students and teachers, Monterey and everybody that comes to visit.”
The celebration of Language Day is open to all that wish to attend. During the event the base is open to the public, giving schools, families and the local community a chance to come and see the students’ dedication in motion.
“We have people from all over the country show up,” said Rikli. “People come every year just to see all of the new performances and the prowess that our linguists have.”