Troops Learn to Not Offend

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Troops Learn to Not Offend

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A seemingly harmless gesture could get a soldier in hot water, especially in a war-torn country. Body language that's meaningless in the United States -- such as showing the soles of one's feet -- is offensive in Iraq. So the American military is adopting a new video game created to help soldiers navigate the mysterious world of international nonverbal language.

Developed by the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, the Tactical Language Training Program is different from interactive language programs of the past, which focus solely on spoken language. In Tactical Iraqi, players navigate a set of real-life scenarios by learning a set of Arabic phrases, culturally relevant gestures and taboos. Other titles include Tactical Levantine and Tactical Pashto.

Following each lesson, the player is asked to interact with other characters using speech and gestures, while a speech-recognition system records and evaluates the responses. Accurate responses allow the soldier to build a rapport with other characters and advance to the next level.

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Troops learn not to offend by playing a video game. The game teaches them gestures, taboos and Iraqi phases.
By YCON: posted on 16-6-2006

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