ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD --
ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD (April 22, 2007) - Arabic language instructors from the Defense Language Institute (DLI) are aboard the ship to teach Marines Iraqi dialect familiarization and common speaking patterns of the Arabic language.
Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are participating in the daily scheduled classes.
According to Maj. Christopher Tolar, 13th MEU Staff Judge Advocate, Marines from the 13th will benefit significantly by memorizing basic and common phrases.
“The curriculum calls for the Marines to be able to recognize and speak basic words and phrases,” said Tolar, a native of New Orleans. “This will allow them to better communicate with Iraqis in the event that the 13th MEU is called upon to deploy to Iraq.”
According to Lance Cpl. Dan Pedry, learning the Arabic language is challenging because of the different pronunciations.
“With the Arabic language you speak from the back of your throat instead of your tongue and lips like the English language,” said Pedry, a native of Missoula, Mont. “You are not just going to jump into learning Arabic without having an idea how to tell apart English from Arabic syllables.”
In addition to native Iraqi instructors, there are also training aids that go along with the classroom sessions.
“We are provided with a course book that has a variety of exercises that help us a lot,” said Pfc. Taylor Enrique, a native of Denver. “Depending on what classes you are participating in, you are given a book with body language illustrations and gestures that go along with the short statements being said. You are also given flash cards that have specific comments that are used frequently.”
With a language addition to an already impressive toolbox of war fighting skills, Marines of the 13th MEU are ever ready to face what chaos may come during WESTPAC 07-1.