Julia Trippe

Document Type


Publication Date





Aviation English, based on a coded jargon from World War II, is a mandatory form of communication for pilots and controllers in international airspace. The International Civil Aviation Organization also requires proficiency in Conversational English, for use in non-standard communication. However, our past research indicates that Aviation English and Conversational English are distinct varieties of English, suggesting that assumptions about native English speaker proficiency and additive learning for non-native English speakers may be false. To establish how different these language varieties are, we present a study of Aviation English intelligibility for non-native and native English speaking pilots. Results suggest that non-native English speaking pilots exhibit high proficiency in Aviation English without parallel proficiency in Conversational English. Non-native English speaking Aviation English users suffer the unfair burden of having to learn and maintain proficiency in two language varieties. The impact on learning, training and testing of Aviation English is discussed.