Marine radio communication from a linguistic and pragmatic perspective: A view from Venezuela
Communications worldwide has grown tremendously in the last decades. Despite these expansions, aeronautical and maritime sectors have maintained very high frequency radio communications. In order to minimize risks of collisions in busy port waters or in open coastal waterways vessel traffic services have been implemented and the chosen international standard language for achieving an effective communication on board and between ships and shore is English. Hence, this language has become an international requirement for certifying merchant marine people and a key element to ensure safe, efficient and profitable ship operations. To describe the linguistic and pragmatic perspective used in Maritime English courses at Universidad Maritima del Caribe is the main purpose of this article. Mainly, how students develop radio communication oral skills in order to achieve proficiency in realistic stages while using English resembling real life radio communication procedures based on the need of exchanging information. These Maritime English courses are theoretically based on the communicative and task-based approaches of language teaching, the cooperative principle and maxims of conversation as well as English for Spedfic Purposes teaching among other aspects of the language. As for conclusion, it is important to highlight that following task-based and student-centered classes and simulations help students to achieve the level of proficiency necessary to get their certificates as Merchant Marines while they are practicing in class as they will do in their future professional lives. Secondly, the correct use of radio communication and spedfic phraseology by students will assure no misunderstandings.
Keywords: Maritime English, Radio Communication, communicative approach, ESP, pragmatics.