The Linguist

The Linguist 57,2 – April/May 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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FEATURES 10 The Linguist Vol/57 No/2 2018 Military linguist David why a career in the Na L inguists looking for a challenge could try studying Chechen – particularly tricky for English speakers, as "there are no language-learning resources from English; they're all from Russian," explains Warrant Officer First Class (WO1) David Bagnall. The only solution is to learn one language via the other. Fortunately for Bagnall, he's linguist extraordinaire for the Royal Navy, speaking a mind-boggling 15 languages – seven proficiently, and the rest to conversational standard. Not content with his tally, he's currently adding two more: Romanian "because my family love going there on holiday"; and Chechen "because I want to branch out into less-spoken languages". As well as Hebrew, Arabic, Pashtu, Farsi and Serbian, Bagnall can thankfully read and speak the Russian required for learning Chechen. Yet the two languages aren't related: Chechen is a Northeast Caucasian language using Cyrillic script. "People think I'll understand it because it's written in the same alphabet as Russian. Well, Hungarian is written in the same alphabet as English. So is Welsh. Good luck deciphering those languages without studying them!" Winner of the Institute's new MOD Award for linguistic achievement, Bagnall was neither born to linguists nor raised internationally. A working-class boy from Wrexham, he developed a love of languages Fighti ON TOUR David Bagnall in Afghanistan in 2015

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