The international maritime industry consists of a global web of shipping that covers the oceans and connects all continents on the earth. In this multinational, multiethnic and multicultural environment the English language has emerged as the lingua franca of the sea. By consensus—and, indeed, by UN resolution—it is the means through which communication takes place wherever language barriers exist. But, as many mishaps at sea prove, understanding among seafarers is not always sufficient and complete. This chapter describes the shift in demographics in global shipping and identifies the two major barriers which exist in communication at sea: the difficulties encountered by some language speakers to become proficient in the prescribed language of Maritime English and the cultural as well as sociolinguistic perceptions and conventions which can create obstacles when it comes to understanding each other. It concludes that a pedagogically sound and culturally sensitive approach to maritime English teaching needs to be adopted.
|Title of host publication||Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Identity: A Global Perspective|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|
- Cultural identity
- International shipping industry
- Language diversity