English Is the Language of Communication

Exercise 2.3.1 Read and translate the text.

Today, when English is one of the major languages in the world, it requires an effort of the imagination to realize that in the year of 1600 in Shakespeares time, for example, only a few million people spoke English, and the language was not thought to be very important by the other nations of Europe, and was unknown to the rest of the world. English was a provincial language, while French was the leading foreign language. Three centuries later 260 million people spoke English and now about one billion people speak English.

It has become one of the worlds most important languages. It is the official language of the United Kindom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand.

It is used as one of the official languages in Canada and South Africa and in the Irish Republic. It is also spoken as a second language by many people in India, Pakistan, numerous countries in Africa. There are many different languages and people use English as an official or second language for government, business and education.

Nowdays it is especially important to know foreign languages. Some people learn languages because they need them for their work, others travel abroad, for the third studying languages is a hobby.

Everyone, who knows foreign languages can speak to people from other countries, read foreign writers in the original, which makes his outlook wider.

It is not surprising that many intellectuals and well-educated people are polyglots.

English is very important to find a good job. People, who know foreign languages, are necessary for the development of the techniques, economy and arts in the modern society. For example, a good engineer should be able to read some technical papers for the imported equipment. Most of scientific magazines in the world are published in English. It is impossible to be a good scientist without knowing this language.

A person, who learns a foreign language, at the same time gets acquainted with the culture of the country, its literature, history and geography.

Besides, a foreign language helps to know the native language better. The great German poet Goethe once said, He, who knows no foreign language, does not know his own one.

It helps us to develop friendship and understanding among people.

Air Traffic Control Officers should have good knowledge and skills in the English language, both general and aviation English.

There are four major skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing and the first two are very important for ATC Officers. Particular attention should be paid to the accuracy of pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and fluency.

Controllers can reinforce their skills in operational environments (often under stressful emergency conditions) provided by realistic simulators.

There are a lot oflanguage problems in aviation. Many aviation people in the world have only limited vocabulary in English.

Those of us who make international telephone calls know how difficult it can be to communicate, especially when the other party makes little allowance for linguistic weaknesses. Face to face with the speaker, facial or bodily gestures aid comprehension. Over the telephone this para-linguistic crutch is missing. This is the situation air traffic controllers and pilots find themselves in.

During the telephone call it does not matter how often one stops to pause for thought. When aircraft are travelling at high speed it does matter. Pauses are time-wasting and dangerous and can be understood as the end of a message. Fluency and accuracy are important.

Why are these ideals not easily achieved in the everyday aviation world? The answer is that both pilots and controllers are faced with several problems, involving accent, mispronunciation, inaccurate grammar, speed of delivery, and the use of non-standard radio telephony (R/T) phraseology, poor technical equipment and the wrong mental attitude.

Speed of delivery is one of the most frequently heard complaints, especially about aerodrome terminal information services (ATIS) and meteorological broadcasts to aircraft in flight (VOLMET). The Italians, Greeks and Spaniards speaks like a machine-gun. The Italians, for example, do not appreciate that the naturally even Italian intonation, stress and rhythm, when transposed to English, makes the message far harder to comprehend (understand). At a slower speed it would be clearer.

Every controller wants to improve his English communications skills. They all realize language deficiencies and misunderstanding between pilot and controller are a major cause of accidents.

But learning a foreign language is not an easy thing. It is a long and slow process that takes a lot of time and effort. First of all, one must work hard to learn any foreign language. It is well known that doing a lot of grammar exercises will improve your language skill and habits. Reading English books, newspapers and magazines in English will enrich your vocabulary. Listening to the BBC News, the broadcast of the radio and TV language programmes will help you a lot. And, there is no doubt, one of the most efficient ways of learning foreign languages is attending lessons in a language laboratory. Listening to different cassetes, imitating the sounds and intonation of native speakers of English will improve your pronunciation. Ii can be very useful for a language learner to communicate with native speakers of English, visiting your country or, if it is possible, to go abroad to study at the language courses.

Exercise 2.3.2 Answer the questions.

1. Why is English one of the major languages in the world?

2. Why wasnt English very known to the rest of the world many centuries ago?

3. In what countries is English considered to be the official language?

4. Why is it especially important to know foreign languages nowdays?

5. Why do people study foreign languages?

6. Does knowledge of a foreign language help you to find good job?

7. Why does knowledge of a foreign language help to know and understand the native language better?

8. Why do air traffic controllers have to know English?

9. Name the four major skills in knowing English.

10. How can controllers reinforce their skills?

11. Why are there many language problems in aviation?

12. Have you ever made international telephone calls?

13. Why is it difficult to communicate when you are not face to face with the speaker?

14. What problems do you experience when you communicate with people?

15. What problems do both pilots and controllers face with?

16. Do you always use standard phraseology?

17. Non-standard phraseology. What is it?

18. Why does every controller want to improve his English communications skills?

19. What can cause problems between a pilot and a controller?

20. Why is learning English a difficult thing?

21. Do you know the most effective way(s) to master English?

22. What do you do to improve your language skills?

23. Have you ever spoken to native speakers in English?

24. Can English be a factor in aviation incidents and accidents?

25. ICAO phraseologies and plain language are required for safe radiotelephony communications. Do you agree?

Exercise 2.3.3 What do the following abbreviations stand for.


  2. A Pidgin Language
  3. A. What countries is English the first language? Match English-speaking countries with their national flags and capitals.
  4. An Extract from the Late Middle English works criticizing the Church
  7. Ask your friend questions in English about their content. Summarize his/her answers.
  9. Body Language in American Politics
  10. Changes of Short Vowels in Early New English
  11. Changes of Stressed Vowels in Early Old English
  12. Changes of Unstressed Vowels in Early Old English

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