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English as a world language and an International aviation language

English has become a world language because of its establishment as a mother tongue outside England, almost in all the continents of the world. This exporting of English began in the XVII-th century, with the first settlements in North America. Above all, the great growth of population in the United States together with massive immigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has given the English language its present standing in the world. Besides, basic characteristics of English also contribute to the situation that nowadays it is the most spread language on Earth. These characteristics are: simplicity of forms (very few endings); flexibility (the same word can operate as some different parts of speech); openness of vocabulary (English words are frequently admitted by other languages). At present English is the language of business, technology, sport and aviation.

There are four working languages in ICAO – English, French, Spanish and Russian. But all meetings, conferences and assemblies are conducted in English and then all materials are translated into other languages. For this purpose ICAO has a special “Language and Publications Branch” with four sections.

The most urgent problem in aviation is safety. The progress in safety is achieved by intensive efforts in various spheres – engineering sciences, meteorology, psychology, medicine, economics and “last but not least” the English language. Insufficient English language proficiency often results in accidents and incidents. For example, the worst disaster in aviation history occurred in 1977 when two Boeings 747 collided at Tenerife, Canary Islands. The crew of Pan American 747 missed or misunderstood taxi instructions requiring a turn off the active runway. At the same time KLM 747 initiated a shrouded take off on the opposite direction. The two aircraft met on the active runway, with heavy loss of lives.

Between 1976-2000 more than 1100 passengers and crews lost their lives in accidents in which language played a contributory role. Concern over the role of language in airline accidents brought real actions. So in March 2003 ICAO adopted Amendments to ICAO Annexes 1, 6, 10 and 11. These Amendments make clear and extend language requirements. In addition, they contain new more strict requirements for language testing.

Additional standards in Annex 10 demand to adhere (=follow) more closely to standard phraseology in all air-ground exchanges and to use plain language when phraseology is not sufficient. Phraseology alone is unable to cover all of the potential situations, particularly (especially) in critical or emergency situations. Therefore the PELA (Proficiency in English Language) test examines use of both ATC phraseology and plain English.


I. Дайте відповіді на запитання:


  1. When did the exporting of English begin?
  2. In what spheres of life is English most widely used?
  3. How many working languages are there in ICAO?
  4. In what language are meetings, conferences and assemblies conducted in ICAO?
  5. How is the progress in safety achieved?
  6. Could you explain why English language is so important in solving safety problem?
  7. What are ICAO real actions for improving English language proficiency?
  8. Will you describe the Amendments to ICAO Annexes adopted in 2003?
  9. What do additional standards demand?
  10. Can phraseology alone cover all of the potential situation in the air?
  11. What are the PELA test requirements now?


II. Перекладіть слова, звертаючи увагу на словотворчі елементи:

establish – establishment

special – specially – specialist – speciality – specialize – specialization

urgent – urgency

safe – unsafe – safely – safety

achieve – achievement – achievable

vary – various – variously – variety – variant – variable – variability

sufficient – sufficiently – sufficiency

collide – collision

critical – uncritical – critically – criticize – criticism

require – requirement – unrequired

oppose – opposite – opposition – oppositionist

add – addition – additional – additionally

act – active – actively – activate – activity – action

heavy – heavily – heaviness

contribute – contributory – contribution

lose – loser – loss

strict – strictly – strictness

cover – coverage – discover – discovery

real – really – realist – realistic – realism – reality


III. Перекладіть:


1. Каково население этого района?

2. Когда появились первые поселения европейцев на этом континенте?

3. Каковы основные характеристики английского языка?

4. Они обсуждают вопрос о новых рабочих языках в ИКАО – арабском и китайском.

5. Когда проводилась последняя ассамблея ИКАО?

6. Кто переводил эти материалы на русский язык?

7. Какова цель этой встречи?

8. Есть какие-нибудь новые публикации по этой проблеме?

9. Они достигли большого успеха в этой области.

10. Большие усилия нужны для решения этой проблемы.

11. Необходимо хорошо владеть английским, чтобы работать в международном аэропорту.

12. Недостаточное владение экипажем английским языком привело к катастрофе.

13. Катастрофа произошла над океаном.

14. На какой высоте столкнулись самолеты?

15. В этой катастрофе была большая потеря жизней.

16. ИКАО примет новые поправки к Аннексам в следующем месяце.

17. У нас достаточно топлива, чтобы лететь в Копенгаген.

18. Мы должны владеть как радиотелефонной фразеологией, так и обычным английским.

2. Language problems in aviation( Individual work)

Nowadays many people of different tongues are using aeroplanes everywhere. And this is the language problem for an airport, airspace user and navigation personnel.

It is known that the working languages of ICAO are those of English, French, Spanish and Russian. But it is known as well that many aviation specialists in the world are very limited in the knowledge of one of these languages or even do not undergo sufficient training in English to master radio communication. This results in some problems facing both pilots and controllers, namely: accent, mispronunciation, inaccurate grammar, speed of delivery, the persistent use of non-standard radio-telephony (RT) phraseology and some others.

A prerequisite to becoming a controller or a pilot should be a high standard of spoken English. A non-native speaker monitoring another speaking English over the RT may be confused by inaccurate grammar or pronunciation.

Speed of delivery is another frequently head complaint, especially about aerodrome terminal information services (ATIS) and meteorological broadcasts to aircraft in flight (VOLMET).

It is not less important to speak without pauses and stumbles over words. The best recommendation is the rate of 100-120 words per minute.

Another difficulty is that of accent which is not easily rectified. This problem is connected with the peculiarities of pronunciation. For example, there exist peculiarities in pronunciation inherent in certain geographical regions in the South Pacific.

The ICAO RT phraseology has been designed to limit each instruction to the minimum number of words. It is for this reason that a controller does not want to waste time listening to extraneous language, particularly at busy times when the traffic flow is heavy.

It sometimes happens that the user may be able to speak the limited number of phrases quite well and may react to them correctly. But it does not mean that he is really speaking the language. He is treating it as a code without being aware of adequate meaning of the words spoken. This will do in a standard situation, but in an emergency communication is absolutely impossible. It follows that any course of teaching RT phraseology by rote without language teaching is dangerous as the student is unable to cope with emergencies.

These are several recommendations to improve the situation:

  1. A high standard of English is essential as a precondition for qualification either a controller or a pilot. Proficiency is required both in speaking and comprehension.
  2. In service tuition in English should be mandatory for both controllers and pilots with stress on pronunciation.
  3. Radio traffic should be monitored, either regularly or from time to time by a qualified assessor.
  4. English speakers should abstain non-standardized chat and especially from developing regional jargon.
  5. Language training should take place in the area in which the trainee will be operating, i.e. teachers should go where the trainees will work.
  6. ATISs and VOLMETs should be subject to specified word flow rates.
  7. On purely logic grounds and without any nationalistic bias English should be made the primary official language for all RT communications relating to air traffic control. This would greatly enhance flight safety.


Special Terms

Aircraft:Usually used as a technical-sounding equivalent to airplane, but in fact it refers to any type of machine that can be used for flight in the air. Thus, it includes not only airplanes but also balloons, helicopters, gliders, etc. The two most common types of commercial aircraft arc propeller planes {props for short) and jets.

Airline:A company that offers air transportation between two and more points. It includes all support activities, such as aircraft, airports, ticket offices, and so on that are necessary for providing the air transportation.

Airport:The place where airplanes take off or land. It includes all the facilities that are necessary for servicing airplanes, passengers, and freight.

Fare:The price charged for transportation. We speak of bus fares, taxi fares, railroad fares and air fares.

Flight:Used generally for the act of flying. Specifically, however, flight is used by the airlines to indicate a trip or journey by one airplane. Every airline flight has a number to identify it. It can be a non-stop flight - direct from Kyiv to Dnipropetrovsk, for example; or it can be a flight with several stops - Kyiv-Paris-Chicago-New York.

Freight:Goods that are transported by surface or air. Many airlines use the term cargo instead of freight. Cargo can also refer to goods being transported by ship.

Route:The way or road or line over which transportation moves between two points. Airlines often speak of short-haul routes - Kyiv to L'viv, for example - or long-haul routes - Kyiv to London. A route can be direct, or it can include other points in between - Kyiv to London by way of / via Paris, for example. The airlines provide service over established routes.

Timetable:A schedule that shows the times, at which airplanes or other forms of transportation arrive and depart. Airline timetables also give the type of aircraft, frequency of service and other information.


1.Дайте відповіді на запитання:

1. What are the two most common types of commercial aircraft?

2. What is an airline? What airlines serve your city or area?

3. What is an airport? Describe your local airport.

4. What does fare mean?

5. How is the term flight used by the airlines?

6. What does freight refer to? What do many airlines call freight?

7. What is a route? What are the most important air routes in your country or region?

8. What information can you get from a timetable?



jet plane- реактивний літак

propeller airplane- гвинтовий літак

trunk line- головна повітряна лінія

feeder line- допоміжна повітряна лінія

scheduled flight- регулярні рейси

non-scheduled flight- нерегулярні рейси

to make a reservation- бронювати місце (на літаку)

jumbo jet- великий реактивний літак

charters- чартерні рейси

first class- перший клас

economy class- економ клас

tourist class- туристичний клас

the cost- вартість

in-flight service- обслуговування під час рейсу

aisle- прохід

room– вільне місце

departure gate- місце виходу з аеровокзалу на посадку

baggage compartment- багажний відсік

passenger compartment- пасажирський салон

reclining seat- відкидне крісло

maintenance- технічне обслуговування

air traffic control- центр керування повітряним рухом

ground service personnel- наземний обслуговуючий персонал


The airlines of the world offer many varieties of services in many different kinds of aircraft Transcontinental and transoceanic flights are made in giant jet planes, some of which can cam several hundred passengers on each flight. Smaller jets are commonly used on the shorter, more heavily travelled routes between major centers of population Paris-London, for example, or New York-Chicago. In contrast to the jets are propeller airplanes, which are slower and smaller than the jets. Many different kinds of propeller planes fly on short routes into small airports.

There are several ways in which airline service can be divided into categories. One distinction is between trunk lines and feeder lines. Trunk lines are those which operate between major population centers. New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an example of a trunk route. Feeder lines, which are sometimes called local lines, connect smaller cities and towns with each other or with the major centers and the major airports.

Airline passenger service can be divided into scheduled and non-scheduled flights. A scheduled flight leaves at the same time on the same day to the same destination. The schedule for the flight is published by the airline in its timetable. The passenger can make a reservation in advance for a scheduled flight with the reasonable expectation that the flight will leave at a certain time and go to a certain place regardless of the number of passengers who have tickets for the flight. Many scheduled flights often carry only a small number of passengers.

A non-scheduled flight depends on the availability of passengers and aircraft. Non-scheduled flights may carry only a few passengers in a small plane, or they may carry hundreds of people on a jumbo jet These latter flights are often called charters. Charters are especially popular with groups on vacation since they usually cost much less than scheduled flights on the same routes.

On the flight itself, there is usually a distinction between first class and economy, which was formerly known as tourist class. The first class passenger has more space and receives more in-flight service. In most modem jets, the seating plan in first class is usually two seats on each side of the aisle; in economy there are usually three seats side by side. The first class seats are usually farther apart so that the passenger has more room for his legs. To the passenger, the chief difference between first class and economy may well be the cost - first-class fares are much higher than economy fares.

Many airlines offer one-service flights, especially on short, heavily traveled routes. In the USA on a few routes, notably New York-Washington, New York-Boston, and Los Angeles-San Francisco, there are shuttle flights. The passenger does not have to make a reservation in advance, and he pays for his ticket either at the departure gate or on the flight itself.

A final distinction is between passenger and freight (or cargo) service. In the early days of the airlines, freight was usually carried in the baggage compartment of the plane. In some cases, freight was even carried in the passenger compartment. In this event, the reclining seats were taken out, the passengers sat in "bucket seats" along the sides of the plane, and the freight was strapped down in the middle of the compartment. Nowadays, small shipments may still be carried in the baggage compartment, but there are also special planes which provide both scheduled and non-scheduled air freight service. Some of these planes are converted from passenger aircraft; others are specially designed to carry freight. With these special planes, freight in bulk can be moved by air, though the cost is usually considerably higher than surface shipment.

The airline industry is still very young, but it is growing rapidly often occupying an increasingly important place in the economy of many I nations. In some areas of the world, air service is the only effective means J of public transportation. Today the airlines carry millions of passengers I every year on both local and long-distance flights. They employ thousands of people to handle the passengers and freight that they carry.

Many of these people work in various technical jobs where they have little or no direct contact with the public - in aircraft maintenance or air traffic control, for example. Thousands of others, however, come into daily contact with the traveling public. They include reservations and ticket agents, ground service personnel, cabin attendants and other flight I personnel, and many others.

I. Дайте відповіді на запитання:

1. Why do some airlines still use propeller airplanes?

2. What is the difference between trunk lines and feeder lines!

3. What is the difference between scheduled and non-scheduled flights?

4. For what purpose are charters especially popular?

5. What particular advantages do charters offer to the passenger?

6. What is an extra section!

7. What is the difference between first class and economy service?

8. What is a shuttle flight?


9. How was freight carried by the airlines a few years ago? How are large shipments of freight carried by the airlines nowadays?

10. What are some of the types of jobs that are offered by the airline industry?

11. Would you be interested in working for an airline? Why?

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