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What do you know about ICAO language proficiency requirements?

A certain degree of fluency is required because controllers have to communicate with several aircraft at the same time and they cannot wait for an unreasonably long time for a pilot to pass a message. Pilots need to receive information and instructions in good time to react accordingly. The interaction between pilots and controllers must be effective, as both parties need to be able to check, confirm and clarify when misunderstandings occur. Controllers and pilots require sufficient vocabulary to be able to communicate in both the routine and non-routine situations which may occur in their jobs. In addition, controllers and pilots need to have a good command of basic grammatical structures so that they can communicate information in a format which will be understood by their interlocutor. And finally, pronunciationneeds to be sufficiently clear and intelligible to the international aviation community.

The five features highlighted above (fluency, interaction, vocabulary, grammatical structure and pronunciation) are the criteria which appear on the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) language proficiency scale. The sixth and final feature to be assessed on the scale, which is also of fundamental importance, is comprehension. Controllers and pilots must be able to clearly understand their interlocutor in routine everyday situations, and where an unusual or an unexpected situation might cause confusion, they must have clarification strategies available.

Controllers and pilots learn to communicate in what is termed standard phraseology during their basic training, and they put it into practice on a daily basis. This phraseology is sufficient to communicate at least 95% of what pilots and controllers need to say. It consists of simple clear messages designed for routine situations. The only way that pilots and controllers can be sure to be able to communicate in a non-routine situation is if they both have a sufficient level of proficiency in a common language. For the international aviation community, this language is English. Due to this need to communicate in unexpected situations, ICAO now requires air controllers and pilots to demonstrate a minimum of level 4 on their six-point language proficiency rating scale. The descriptors of level 4 measure the ability to communicate in what ICAO terms plain language, in order to make a clear contrast with the phraseology suitable for routine situations.


Date: 2014-12-29; view: 159

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