By Michael Kelly, Catherine Baker (auth.)
Read Online or Download Interpreting the Peace: Peace Operations, Conflict and Language in Bosnia-Herzegovina PDF
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Additional resources for Interpreting the Peace: Peace Operations, Conflict and Language in Bosnia-Herzegovina
If as many as 30 officers had acquired some proficiency in Russian, this still amounted to barely 1 per cent of the forces with relevant language skills. The scarcity of language skills in a buoyant language market for Serbo-Croat could then be remedied in two ways. One was to hire local people with knowledge of English to translate and interpret, as discussed in Chapter 3. This was in practice the solution adopted for the vast majority of purposes. The second remedy was to provide language training for troops, increasing the linguistic capital they could bring to bear.
Coldstreamer had studied Russian for 18 months earlier in his career, at a time when NATO troops regularly learned Russian as the language of the Warsaw Pact, and all NATO forces had well-established provision for Russian teaching. As a result, at the beginning of the intervention in BosniaHerzegovina, the existing linguistic and cultural capital within UN and NATO troops was very limited. A minority of officers could use their knowledge of Russian to make some sense of what was going on in Serbo-Croat, but they did not have the active ability to speak or write the language.
STANAG 0 now includes a higher level, which recognizes the ability to ‘make short utterances and ask very simple questions using memorised material and set expressions’, and to be able to deal with ‘immediate needs such as greetings, personal details, numbers, time, common objects or commands’ (Lewis 2012: 63). In practice, no strong distinction was drawn between the basic skills that might be acquired without STANAG recognition and the ‘survival’ level that could be achieved after a couple of weeks of training.