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Conclusion: Cross-Cultural Communication and Language in Wartime: Reflections and Future Directions

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Languages at War book series (PASLW)


The conclusion aims to bring together some of the overarching themes of this volume relating to language and war, focusing on cross-cultural communication, strategies of communication and language teaching, and the experiences of interpreters. It argues that a study of language in the context of war is central to a fuller understanding of the experience of war, military history, and military policy. We also outline some future directions for research in this area and consider some of the challenges to researching language and war in contemporary and, potentially, future conflicts.

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  1. 1.

    Amanda Laugesen (2012), ‘Boredom is the Enemy’: The Intellectual and Imaginative Lives of Australian Soldiers in the Great War and Beyond (Farnham: Ashgate), pp. 2–3. See also Tristan Moss and Tom Richardson (eds) (2018), Beyond Combat: Australian Military Activity Away from the Battlefield (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press).

  2. 2.

    Martijn Kitzen and Willem Vogelsang (2016), ‘Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences of the Netherlands Military Presence in South Afghanistan’, Gerard Lucius and Sebastiaan Rietjens (eds), Effective Civil-Military Interaction in Peace Operations (Cham: Springer), pp. 77–88, here p. 86.

  3. 3.

    Terry Burstall (1990), A Soldier Returns (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press), p. 7.

  4. 4.

    See for example Willem Vogelsang (1992), The Rise and Organisation of the Achaemenid Empire: The Eastern Iranian Evidence (Leiden: Brill); Willem Vogelsang (2002), The Afghans (Oxford: Blackwell); Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and Willem J. Vogelsang (2008), Covering the Moon: An Introduction to Middle Eastern Face Veils (Leuven: Peeters).

  5. 5.

    Craig Mullaney (2009), The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education (New York: The Penguin Press), p. 225.

  6. 6.

    Franziska Heimburger (2013), ‘Imagining Coalition Warfare: French and British Military Language Policy before 1914’, Francia, 40, pp. 397–408, here p. 402.

  7. 7.

    Kayla Williams (2005), Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the US Army (London: W. W. Norton & Company).

  8. 8.

    Catherine Baker (2010), ‘It’s Not Their Job to Soldier: Distinguishing Civilian and Military in Soldiers’ and Interpreters’ Accounts of Peacekeeping in 1990s Bosnia-Herzegovina’, Journal of War & Culture Studies, 3:1, pp. 137–50.

  9. 9.

    Hilary Footitt and Michael Kelly (2012), ‘Introduction’, in Hilary Footitt and Michael Kelly (eds), Languages at War: Policies and Practices of Language Contacts in Conflict (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 1–15, here p. 2.

  10. 10.

    The leak had already been identified as coming from David McBride, a former military lawyer. He is currently charged with several offences, including breaching the Defence Act and theft of Commonwealth property. See ‘Afghan Files Leak Accused David McBride Faces ACT Supreme Court for First Time’, ABC News, 14 June 2019,

  11. 11.

    Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones (2018), ‘The Sensitivity of SIGINT: Sir Alfred Ewing’s Lecture on Room 40 in 1927’, Journal of Intelligence History, 17:1, pp. 18–29, here pp. 22, 27.

  12. 12.

    Kenichi Ohmae (1995), The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies (New York: Simon and Schuster).

  13. 13.

    Vincent Rafael (2012), ‘Targeting Translation: Counterinsurgency and the Weaponization of Language’, Social Text, 30:4, pp. 55–80.

  14. 14.

    See for example Henry Liu (2018), ‘Help or Hinder? The Impact of Technology on the Role of Interpreters’, FITISPos International Journal, 5:1, pp. 13–32.

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Correspondence to Amanda Laugesen .

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Gehrmann, R., Laugesen, A. (2020). Conclusion: Cross-Cultural Communication and Language in Wartime: Reflections and Future Directions. In: Laugesen, A., Gehrmann, R. (eds) Communication, Interpreting and Language in Wartime. Palgrave Studies in Languages at War. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-27036-0

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