Foreign language training in the Canadian Armed Forces

CFLS Crest
The School motto "PER LINGUAS COMMUNITAS" translates literally as "SOCIETY THROUGH LANGUAGE" and can be interpreted as the goal to promote universal understanding and co-operation through language.

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By Mohcine Chaouni Benabdallah, Canadian Forces Language School

The Canadian Forces Language School (CFLS) supports military training by providing second and foreign language training to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.

Foreign language training is offered to CAF members who will fill Military Attaché positions or other staff-related functions abroad, in conjunction with CAF’s operational needs.

Candidates acquire the required proficiency to perform their duties in the selected language. Graduates then proceed to their Military Attaché assignments or go on exchange postings around the world and in Canada.

Training is tailored to the requirements of the CAF and the needs of the CAF member. In general, the training curricula are based on the principles of the communicative approach. The following outlines three of the most common types of foreign language courses sponsored by the CAF:

  • General training: Development of ability in all skills with emphasis on listening, speaking and reading, with intensive, full-time instruction.
  • Special/specialty course: Development of ability in all language skills, while focusing on those skills required for specific positions or special duties and operations, e.g. translation and transcription.
  • Refresher course: Improvement of a language ability that has diminished through lack of use, or to facilitate maintenance of a previously attained proficiency level.

For each course, the course objectives depend upon the requirements of the operation, position or posting for which the training is required.

The foreign language program plays an important role in international relations. Defence Attachés assist ambassadors’ diplomatic tasks, and act as the representative of the CAF to establish a good relationship with the armed forces of the receiving country.

For more information, visit the Canadian Forces Language School web page.

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