When I think about it now it seems a little crazy, but about eight years ago, I talked to an Armed Forces recruiter about joining up and becoming an Army linguist. I even went as far as to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). Sure, I would have had to go through boot camp, but then my professional training would have sent me to Monterey, California (oh, the horror!) for a year and a half to learn how to speak another language, break codes, or gather intelligence.
Ultimately, however, I knew I would not be suited for the Army. I’ve never been a “rebel”, per se, but I have a life-long abhorrence for being stuck and taking orders, so before it went any further, I splashed a metaphorical glass of water in my face, came to my senses, and did not join the military.
Every once in a while, though, I wish I had joined, if for no other reason than for the opportunity to be in a linguistic gold mine. I am not just talking about the training, although that certainly was a temptation. I’m talking about every day linguistic innovation that exists in the branches of the Armed Forces. I wanted to be an insider and know the shibboleths, learn the banter, and see innovations in action. Continue reading