Communication for maritime purposes : some exploratory results of a survey-based study on intercultural and linguistic features
Faculty of Applied Economics
ITL : review of applied linguistics / Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Instituut voor Toegepaste Lingu´stiek; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Institute of Applied Linguistics. - Leuven, 1968 - 2004
, p. 111-133
University of Antwerp
Multilingual and multicultural crews have become the rule rather than the exception in the globalised maritime world. Professionals as well as researchers indicate that this increases the risk of miscommunication both on board and in external communication with major consequences for efficiency and safety. The mission statements of international shipping companies reveal objectives that aim not only to provide professional services, ensure safety, increase security and protect the marine environment but also to deal with cultural and linguistic diversity and how to harness its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses. Effective communication at sea plays a key role in achieving these objectives as well as in creating a harmonious and efficient working atmosphere on board. This paper offers an analysis of a survey-based research project (University of Antwerp and Antwerp Maritime Academy which aims to determine the linguistic and intercultural features of maritime communication that hinder or aid the quality of work onboard a merchant ship. Having established the profile of the respondent group, the paper explores the influence of (inter)cultural and linguistic features such as verbal and non-verbal communication, intercultural factors (ethical and social norms, thinking patterns, turn-taking in conversation, cross-cultural prejudices), gender issues and organisational factors on the quality of communication in the maritime sector.