Have you ever considered the broader implications of languages? We know about the benefits of languages for furthering our careers or being able to speak with others on a social level, but languages can also be used in ways that most of us would never even think of.

It has recently come to light that agencies are having to infiltrate websites set-up by terrorist networks to recruit Westerners. In a bid to recruit English speakers in America and other Western countries, the extremist group, Al Qaeda, and its affiliates have been using an online campaign which the US State Department is doing its best to combat. The websites range from propaganda pictures to online magazines, social media pages and videos.

Analysts and bloggers have already been working online for a few years to ascertain how recruitment campaigns are formed, who their target audiences are and what appeals to them. Using this information, they then devise ways of dissuading potential candidates from being recruited. These analysts speak Somali, Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic.

Now, however, the shift in the recruitment drive by the violent extremists has resulted in the need for these analysts to use the same tactics using the English language. The analysts use online posts aimed at English speakers in order to steer them away from the jihadists’ lure. The State Department is using English to counteract terrorism wherever it sees propaganda or evidence that new soldiers are trying to be recruited.

The use of other languages to combat these violent terrorist groups’ attempts at recruitment have previously been successful, so now the hope is to make the use of English language tactics just as successful. Campaigns such as these prove just how powerful languages can be and the State Department is using the most widely spoken language in the US in an effective way to protect its citizens.

Have you ever considered the way languages can be used outside of the norm? In what way could you benefit your local community by using the English language? Expand your knowledge of English so that you can positively contribute to your area.