Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Aviation English and Communication Problems

Aviation English and Communication Problems

Stephen Teran

With the continual growth of the aviation industry and the globalization of passenger airliners, safety has become a crucial issue, and communication is at the forefront of determining more acceptable systems. Taking into consideration aviation’s high-risk environment, communication issues such as ambiguity of selected terms, aviation English, conflicting linguistic features and non-native English instruction for commercial aviators and air traffic controllers are important to strengthening safety across the globe. The question raised is what steps authorities and pilots/controllers need to take in terms of necessary precautions, and what systems of communication should be altered. The role of having a standardized language also needs to be addressed. Examples from incidents in the air and on the ground will highlight these concerns. The result of many studies by linguists and aviation authorities has amounted to a number of viable options for solution to communication problems. The most interesting and complex of these solutions is the idea that computer interfaces could replace controller tower operation and potentially be used to process information from pilots and instruct in a way that allows little to no confusion or possible ambiguity. Evaluating and prioritizing features of communication most necessary for safer and more effective operations along with testing of new communication methods is certainly the next step for researchers.

April 15, 2013 - Posted by | abstract


  1. Your abstract is very comprehensive and shows an understanding of the material expressed in a logical and rational manner. There needs to be a standard of operation and you have shown the positive outcomes as well as the pitfalls.

    Comment by Jeri Pajor | April 15, 2013 | Reply

  2. This is a very clearly written abstract, addressing an important linguistic issue.
    As for the computer interfaces replacing people, I am wondering about the lack
    of flexibility that they would necessarily involve.

    Comment by Ljiljana Progovac | April 15, 2013 | Reply

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