Breaking the language barrier

Submitted by:
Scott Buhrmaster, PoliceOne Managing Editor


11/07/2005

If you need to communicate with a subject who claims that he can't speak a lick of English--but you suspect he can--here's a quick trick that can help you confirm or eliminate your suspicions.

Begin asking a fast-paced stream of the usual questions like, "What's your name?" "Where do you live?" "Is this your car?" "Do you have a driver's license?" Of course the response you'll get is "I don't speak English" or "I don't understand" spoken in his native language.

In the middle of your fruitless questioning, suddenly drop a comment--seemingly to yourself but clearly loud enough for him to hear it--like, "Man, I knew it! Guys who don't speak English always wear that kind of belt"…or always have those kinds of buttons on their shirt, or always wear those types of shoes.

Odds are pretty good that if the subject does in fact speak some English, he'll reflexively look down to the area you refer to. With that, you've got your answer.


Scott Buhrmaster is a longtime contributor to PoliceOne.com, as well as former Publisher of Police Marksman magazine. He has also served as Contributing Editor for Law Officer magazine. Scott has been a member of the law enforcement training community since 1989, when he began work as Director of Research with Calibre Press, Inc., producers of The Street Survival Seminar.

Throughout his tenure at Calibre, Buhrmaster was involved with virtually every aspect of the company’s officer survival training efforts, from the planning, creation and marketing of the organization’s award-winning textbooks and videos to developing and securing training content for the Seminar. In 1995, he was named Director of the Calibre Press Street Survival Newsline®, an Internet-based officer survival training service he helped found. In less than five years, Newsline readership grew from 25 officers to more than 250,000 in 26 countries, making it one of the most popular training vehicles in law enforcement history. His efforts now focus on providing training and information to the nearly 400,000 officers worldwide who visit PoliceOne.com every month.

Prior to joining PoliceOne, Buhrmaster, who also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Force Science Research Center and stands as an active member of the American Society for Law Enforcement Training and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, was President of The Buhrmaster Consulting Group, an international consulting practice for the law enforcement training sector and the publishing industry.

Contact Scott Buhrmaster




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