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English, Int. Aviation Language  
User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5391 times:

I wonder why English is the international language of aviation? Why not French or German. It must be strange for different pilots of different countries trying to speak 2 different languages while flying and communicating. Imagine if the language was Russian, can you speak all the flight related conversation Russian while talking in English to your crew? I guess thats what Int Pilots do! I never thought about this much till today. Any comments?

44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCOSPN From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Oct 2001, 1619 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5370 times:

Cause Americans Invented the Airplane...

Someone comes up with something else...everyone can speak that....


User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5362 times:

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Thread starter):
It must be strange for different pilots of different countries trying to speak 2 different languages while flying and communicating.

Not really! I myself am bilingual and do not habe a problem to switch. Moreover, pilots become used to communicating in English while talking to their crew in their respective language.

We should not forget that English is more widely spoken than many other languages. While there might be more native speakers of other languages, English as second language has become a quite, albeit not overall, modell.

In terms of security, I think it is important to have one uniform language, though there was a thread ages ago stating that some pilots use their native language while communicating to home ATC..

I think, for professional pilots, it is not a big deal. And it is a good idea to have English, which de facto has extended its reach in the globalization process, is the aviation language.,.

hope this helps  Wink


User currently offlineWukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1017 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5361 times:

I'm would say that the rationale behind it is that English is the 3rd most common native language, and the 1st most studied as a secondary language.

As to why it is the language of aviation, I would venture the guess that early flight was dominated by English speaking countries such as the UK and the US when the "rules" were constructed and air traffic became an issue in the early 20th Century.

It seems like basic evolution and adoptation. English is also the primary language of medicine, although archaic Latin would seem to be the obvious choice.



We can agree to disagree.
User currently offlineAFinMIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5313 times:

It may just very well change one day. The way I was taught to always put "Por Avon" on my overseas mail. That was because for the longest time French was considered the international language. Now it has been English for many years and one day it will change to another, there seems to be a slight need for some universality don't you agree (no matter where you hail from). Especially when traveling or transporting to a foreign land. Simply put the only benefit is that it makes things understood to everyone, and English just seems to be the most widely known or spoken at the moment.

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31679 posts, RR: 56
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5302 times:

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Thread starter):
It must be strange for different pilots of different countries trying to speak 2 different languages while flying and communicating

If You've been to Mumbai [Bombay] You'll know what a mix of Three-Four languages in a sentence means.
 Smile
I guess since English is Widlely spoken internationally & the American/English made most planes Initially.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13986 posts, RR: 62
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5289 times:

Ok, guys, stop speculating.

There are actually several official aviation languages, English, Russian, Spanish, French and possibly more.
This was decided during the Chicago Convention of 1944, the forerunner of today´s ICAO. Back then, when they noticed that WW2 was slowly coming to a close, the US invited her Allies and many neutral countries for a conference about the future of civil aviation after the war. Obviously Germany, Italy and Japan were not invited, so no German, Italian and Japanese as aviation languages. The idea of the conference was to standartise aviation procedures for international flight, and because back then the US had the biggest experience in long range flights, they set the standard for procedures.

Jan


User currently offlineWukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1017 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5282 times:

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 6):
Ok, guys, stop speculating.

Thanks for the heads-up. I couldn't find the docs to back my previous statement up.

Cheers!



We can agree to disagree.
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 6887 posts, RR: 63
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5275 times:

Quoting AFinMIA (Reply 4):
The way I was taught to always put "Por Avon" on my overseas mail. That was because for the longest time French was considered the international language.

You need to fire your French teacher...

As I understand it, English is expected to be spoken even if both the pilot and controller are native speakers of another language. So at Madrid, for example, Iberia pilots will speak English so that all the other traffic can understand. This rule seems to break down in France (why am I not surprised...?) where French is at least sometimes spoken by French pilots. I seem to remember an accident a few years back where the control tower was talking in English to some pilots and in French to others. Not altogether surprisingly, there was a misunderstanding and two planes collided - fatally. My aging memory suggests it was a UK-registered Short 360 having its cockpit torn out by an AOM (?) MD-80 as the French jet started its roll and the 360 taxied at the wrong time or in the wrong place having failed to understand the conversation between the two Frenchmen.

Seems to me that that sort of thing really shouldn't happen.


User currently offlineJush From Germany, joined Apr 2005, 1636 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5266 times:

Quote:
Cause Americans Invented the Airplane...

this isn't true completely. The same as they haven't invented the internet.

Cheers

matt



There is one problem with airbus. Though their products are engineering marvels they lack passion, completely.
User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5265 times:

Quoting PM (Reply 8):
You need to fire your French teacher...

Yes, I agree: par avion! Big grin By the way, French remains the official postal language.. but since only small expressions like recommande, par avion etc are used, this is palpable

Quoting PM (Reply 8):
s rule seems to break down in France (why am I not surprised...?) where French is at least sometimes spoken by French pilots.

I heard the same.. by the way: the lousy, unlogical and irrational imperial system (feet etc). is, as far as I know, the convention in aviation. There was an accident, where an SV plane collidated with some cargo plane from Tadjikistan over India (1996?).. the latter measured in metres, this being a prime reason for that accident (along with the lousy performance of Indian ATC in that case)


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13986 posts, RR: 62
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5252 times:

The reason why a mix of imperial and metric units is used in aviation is to prevent missunderstandings, you´ll get altitudes in feet, runway visual range in metres, visibility in kilometers, distances in nautical miles (the exception are Russia and China, where all dimensions, except distances are in meters). Also, knots and nautical miles are very well suited for navigational purposes, as having a direct connection to the longitude / latitude system (1 nautical mile equals 1 arc minute latitude or 1 arc minute on the equator).

As I mentioned before, it is perfectly legal for the French to use French in ATC, or e.g. Colombians to use Spanish. I think Mandarin Chinese was also one of the official languages.
Outside controlled airspace you are free to use your native language at any time, e.g. radio contact to ballons and glider pilots over here is mostly done in German.

French used to be historically the language used by diplomats.

Jan


User currently offlineAFinMIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5246 times:

Thanks for the heads up PM but since French is My native Tounge. I don't think it's my French teacher, but my typing you should blame.

User currently offlineWukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1017 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5244 times:

Quoting Jush (Reply 9):
The same as they haven't invented the internet.

Good point, Matt. Who *did* invent the Internet?



We can agree to disagree.
User currently offlineJalalabad From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5229 times:

the U.S. DoD



User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13986 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5207 times:

The internet started in it´s original form as the ARPANET in the late 1960s. The idea was to have a decentralised command network for the US military, with redundant connections, should one or more command centers be knocked out during a nuclear war. This evolved later into a network connecting several American universities. Later the military split off the civilian network, but at this time the net, though slowly spreading internationally, was mainly used for interchange of scientific data between research institutes, very uncomfortable to use and only something for true computer geeks. The WWW as we know and use it today, was invented by scientists from the European nuclear and high energy physics research institute CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. This brough the breakthrough for the internet in so far that also no-geeks were able to use it.

Jan


User currently offlineWukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1017 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5215 times:

Quoting Jalalabad (Reply 14):
the U.S. DoD

Thanks for ruining my baited question!  Smile I was waiting for the poo-poo of DARPA and the linking of UCLA, Stanford, UofU, and UCSB with some off-the-hook comment about how Helsinki worked with Johannesburg's Saigon / Tokyo division on behalf of Prague's ambassador to Brazil to "invent" the Internet.

Knowing is half the battle!  Smile



We can agree to disagree.
User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5195 times:

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 11):
French used to be historically the language used by diplomats.

I thought that was Italian??


User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5195 times:

Tim Berners-Lee is internationally credited with inventing the World Wide Web.

And he's British. Just for the record  Wink


User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5190 times:

And incidentally, to cut out all the guesswork and nonsense being written about "international languages", there's no "official" international language for aviation.

ICAO's recommendation on the use of language in air/ground communication is very simple - it says that air/ground communications should be carried out in the language of the ground station or in English if requested.

Which means any language is acceptable. It just so happens that it's considered more acceptable within the airline and air traffic control community for everyone to be talking the same language.

English has developed as the 'accepted' language simply because it is the most widely-spoken language (not in terms of the number of speakers but in terms of the geographical spread).


User currently offlineJush From Germany, joined Apr 2005, 1636 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5182 times:

Quote:
The internet started in it´s original form as the ARPANET in the late 1960s. The idea was to have a decentralised command network for the US military, with redundant connections, should one or more command centers be knocked out during a nuclear war. This evolved later into a network connecting several American universities. Later the military split off the civilian network, but at this time the net, though slowly spreading internationally, was mainly used for interchange of scientific data between research institutes, very uncomfortable to use and only something for true computer geeks. The WWW as we know and use it today, was invented by scientists from the European nuclear and high energy physics research institute CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. This brough the breakthrough for the internet in so far that also no-geeks were able to use it.

well thanks, md11engineer, thats the correct explanation and now i don't have to explain it.

Cheers
Matt



There is one problem with airbus. Though their products are engineering marvels they lack passion, completely.
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12981 posts, RR: 100
Reply 21, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5165 times:
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Quoting AirWillie6475 (Thread starter):
I wonder why English is the international language of aviation?

English was adopted by ICAO as the official language in 1942. Think about the year for a minute. ICAO holds a meeting in Los Angles, you're not going to have any German or French representatives. The British, Australians, South Africans, and other English speaking countries are in LA buying aircraft at panic rates. They meet, they vote to have English the language of aviation. Its as simple as that.

As the allied armies progressed throughout Europe, the airports were converted to English. Same with Japan, etc. By 1950, there was no turning back.

There is also a reason that the STD ICAO sea level condition is LAX. While colder than those from Oz and South Africa would have chosen, its warmer than jolly old England... And so many aircraft were tested in LA anyway... They chose the army airfield that later became LAX as the standard.

Quoting Backfire (Reply 19):
air/ground communications should be carried out in the language of the ground station or in English if requested.

??? That contradicts: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently introduced a new mandatory testing requirement for language proficiency for pilots holding Private Pilot or higher licences, air traffic controllers and radio station operators. from : http://www.copanational.org/non-memb...mePageStories/HomePageStory121.htm

English is only optional for a private pilots license. Commercial licenses have required English since 1942. Although the testing was recently made more rigorous.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13986 posts, RR: 62
Reply 22, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5164 times:

You can say that IP/TCP were invented in the united states, together with the whole nameserver system, but the original internet just used more or less FTP and a few other protocolls, while the whole hypertext protocoll (http) and the world wide web (www) was invented in Europe.

Jan


User currently offlineWukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1017 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5162 times:

Quoting Jush (Reply 20):
well thanks, md11engineer, thats the correct explanation and now i don't have to explain it.

Huh? You don't have to explain that you were absolutely wrong? I don't see how md11engineer was actually agreeing with you. The WWW based on Hypertext Transfer Protocol is *not* the Internet. The Internet is an American "invention". Period. Remote terminal sessions existed looooong before the "web". The WWW and the presentation of websites like A.Net is based on the works of a worldwide consortium that uses the Internet to get things to your computer.

Internet = Engine, drivetrain and tires
WWW = Comfy seat and steering wheel

Your HTTP request ain't going anywhere without underlying IP routing. For more information, see the history of Cisco Systems for routing and w3 for HTTP.



We can agree to disagree.
User currently offlineJush From Germany, joined Apr 2005, 1636 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5147 times:

You're right with that TCP/IP routing there you go. Maybe you just can't say they invented the internet but it seems so though they even have won a prize for development of the internet if i'm not mistaken.
But i'm sure we can close this discussion here because it is just not important who invented what. Lets go back to the important part... Aviation Big grin

Cheers
Matt



There is one problem with airbus. Though their products are engineering marvels they lack passion, completely.
25 Post contains images Wukka : I'll second the back to aviation part! I guess I just had to defend my career! Slainte!
26 Post contains images PM : Who invented the Internet makes a nice change from A vs. B...
27 Post contains links MD11Engineer : You are wrong there. The base for the ICAO (a suborganisationof the United Nations) was the Chicago Conference of November-December 1944 (also after
28 Post contains links Jambo : Well, pretty soon HINGLISH will takeover as the international Aviation Language.... Recently came across an article on HINGLISH - http://us.rediff.com
29 Post contains images ACDC8 : As long as I get my chai as I airdash around the world with my would-be wearing only her chaddis! cheers, Patrick
30 Post contains images Starlionblue : I can speak 4 languages and switch between sentences. If you're used to it Shouldn't that be "Par Avion"?
31 Backfire : That contradicts: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently introduced a new mandatory testing requirement for language proficienc
32 Post contains images COSPN : Quote: Cause Americans Invented the Airplane... this isn't true completely. The same as they haven't invented the internet. Cheers matt ok www invente
33 BeechNut : In Canada, in Quebec and a couple of airports outside Quebec (Ottawa for one), traffic may communicate with ATC in either French or English. I was out
34 Post contains links MD11Engineer : Actually the basic work on aerodynamics was done by the Lilienthal brothers, Otto and Gustav, in Berlin, Germany. After studying the flight of storks
35 COSPN : Thank u very much...makes sense the Wrights had something to base upon.. they didnt just wake up one day and make the "flyer"..
36 Post contains images Leelaw : Reminds me of what my old Latin teacher used to say..."those 'Gauls' never did learn to speak or spell properly!"
37 Starlionblue : Latin - Roman hegemony->Late Middle Ages Italian - Late Middle Ages->Renaissance French - 17th->18th Centuries English - Grew with the British Empire
38 MD11Engineer : I think English only really kicked in as international diplomatic language after WW2, due to both, the American influence and the British empire. Jan
39 Starlionblue : I will amend my earlier statement and agree with this. German was very important internationally up until the end of WWII.
40 Atmx2000 : Strictly speaking, the WWW as we know and use it today required further development. The original browsers that were developed weren't completely use
41 Eilennaei : The Internet is an American "invention". At the end of the day, there's no such thing as "the Internet". There's just a huge set of hardware and softw
42 Tockeyhockey : oh, i can't wait to hear your explanation for this one. do tell, if the americans didn't invent the airplane, who did?
43 Post contains images FriendlySkies : It's obviously Al Gore........
44 MD11Engineer : Check post #34. There were also otherinventors earlier at work, like Cagley in Britain during the early 19th century. The Wright brothers made valubl
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