LINGUIST List 11.1042

Mon May 8 2000

Sum: Air Traffic Communication

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. Raija Solatie, Air Traffic Communication

Message 1: Air Traffic Communication

Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 02:31:27 +0300
From: Raija Solatie <>
Subject: Air Traffic Communication

For Query: Linguist 11.652

Hello my colleagues,

I posted a query on the air traffic communication, and specially on the term 
"acknowledge", such as on "readback", a quite long time ago. I apologize that 
I am so late with my summary, but here it is:

The semantics of the notion "acknowledge" is much wider than the semantics of 
"readback". My question about the "acknowledge" was maybe a little bit 
confusing: an air traffic controller or a pilot doesn't use the word 
"acknowledge" by speaking with radiophone, but it means the phenomenon in 
communication of the air traffic. 

When two aeroplanes, for exemple, have some problems by getting contact with 
the radiophone with each other and one of them can't answer to another by 
speaking, the pilot can "yaw" or "roll" the aeroplane or "pitch" its lights: 
this in called the confirmation of reception of the information from the other
pilot, in other words "acknowledge".

The notion "readback" is connected only with the radiophone communication 
between the controller and the pilot. I would say that the whole system of 
the air communication is based on repeating messages, on "readback". When 
the communication starts, for exemple, by taking contact of the "tower" with 
the pilot of one aeroplane, this answers by repeating the message of the 
controller. Then, the controller still confirms the reception of the message 
of the pilot by using the word "roger", which means that the information of 
the repeated message was "right". This whole communication manner could be 
called "readback communication".

The structure of the messages repeated is also very interesting. The 
controller such as the pilots always mention the "station" of the reception 
of the message. In front or at the end of the message they read the "symbol" 
of the tower (air traffic controller) or the symbol of the aeroplane (pilot). 
This specific structure of repeating messages, "readback", in connection with 
the phenomenon "acknowledge", will also be the basic structure for my theory 
of the general linguistical system of the air traffic communication.

I want to thank the following persons who have helped me with my new project:

Joseph F Foster
Moeko Okada
Adrienne Bruyn
Bettina Bajaj
Carmen Pena
Margun Welskopf

Greeting from Finland
Mrs Raija Solatie

Mme Raija Solatie
Kaskihara 20
02340 Espoo Finlande/Finnland
t�l./Tel.: +358-9-8136989
e-mail :

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