Lingua franca

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The lingua franca ( Italian for a lingua franca is) on the one hand a Romanesque -based pidgin language , on the other hand, the generic name for a common language .

The lingua franca as a pidgin language emerged in the Middle Ages through linguistic contact between Romans and speakers of non-Romance languages, especially Arabic , and was a commercial and lingua franca mainly on the south and east coast of the Mediterranean until the 19th century.

Its name lingua franca has been generalized since the 18th century to a generic term for similar mixed or pidgin languages. Today it also means any artificial or natural languages such as English that are habitually used as a secondary and lingua franca between speakers of different language communities. Whether in the case of a natural language the changes and simplifications resulting from such use have already led to a pidginization is not decisive for classification as a lingua franca .

Spelling and plural formation

In German, the spellings lingua franca , lingua franca or lingua franca are used without it being normally possible to deduce from the spelling whether the original or the generically expanded meaning is meant. For the plural formation, which is only possible with the addition of the generic meaning, the Latin form Linguae francae (or linguae francae ) is mainly used in German , while the Italian form Lingue franche (or lingue franche ), which is the memory of the origin , is used comparatively less often of the term preserved, or the hybrid form ( the ) lingua francas borrowed from English .

The Romansh-based lingua franca

Italian franco / franchi , originally a term derived from the name of the Germanic Franks for (Northern) Italians and French, was expanded to mean "Western Europeans, Westerners, Catholics" through the Crusades and the Latin-Franconian Empire in Byzantium. “And adopted in this meaning by Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Persians, Slavs and Romanians. The term “lingua franca” seems to have been coined after the Arabic in Al-Andalus , where it is documented by the geographer Ibn Khurradadbih that lingua franca ( al lugha al-ifranjiyya ) was delimited from Spanish ( andalusiyya ) and Greek ( rumiyya ) . As an alternative term, the expression ( langue ) sabir , which probably originated under French influence in Algeria, has been widespread since the 19th century (first document in 1859, differently from Molière ) and, more rarely, petit mauresque (first document in 1830). With lingua franca , parlare franco , sapere franco and their equivalents, especially in Greek sources, depending on the context of delimitation and in analogy to the general development of the meaning of franco / franchi , deviating meanings such as "French", "Italian" or "Western language" must be expected .

Contrary to older assessments, the lingua franca is not a mixed language or a defaced individual language or a wheel breaking from speaker to speaker , but a real pidgin on a Romance basis with Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Greek and Slavic influences, which in his lexical base and its grammatical structure shows a remarkable coherence despite its widespread use and centuries of use. The assertion that is widespread in some literature that the basis was a Provençal spoken between Genoa and Marseilles is linguistically incorrect and not tenable for historical and geographical reasons.

It has remained a secondary language , so it has not evolved into a Creole language that has been adopted as a mother tongue . The conditions for use were trade contacts, military contacts, mixed settlement and - of importance not to be underestimated - piracy and the presence of Roman slaves in the Arabic-Turkish and Greek-speaking areas. Whether or to what extent novels also used the lingua franca as a lingua franca among themselves cannot be decided on the basis of the sources obtained.

The lingua franca is represented in the sources by meta-language descriptions e.g. B. in travel reports, through quotations and through technical terms z. B. attested in the nautical language. It was also occasionally used for literary texts, for example in the anonymous Contrasto della Zerbitana from 1284/1305, Gigio Artemio Giancarlis La Zigana , printed in 1548, to a lesser extent also in Fazio degli Uberti , Goldoni , Molière ( The Citizen as Nobleman ), Calderón and Lope de Vega , but has not established itself as a written language. The conditions for examining their more precise historical development and geographical differentiation are correspondingly difficult. In the case of the latter, the evidence for North Africa shows a predominantly Spanish base in western North Africa and a predominantly Italian base in eastern North Africa, which meet at Algiers . In connection with the conquest of Algeria by the French, the lingua franca there was Frenchized through increased contact with the French language and through manuals such as the Dictionnaire de la langue franque ou petit mauresque (Marseille 1830), but remained as such until the end of the 19th century in use.

See also


  • Bruno Camus Bergareche: El estudio de la lingua franca: cuestiones pendientes. In: Revue de linguistique romane 57, 227/228 (1993), pp. 433-454, ISSN  0035-1458
  • Guido Cifoletti: La lingua franca barbarenca. Il Calamo, Rome 2004, ISBN 88-88039-71-6 .
  • Christian Foltys: The Evidence of the Lingua Franca. In: Neue Romania 1 (1984), pp. 1-37, ISSN  0177-7750 ; Catalan translation: ders., La lingua franca. Consideracions crítiques , with an introduction and comments by Carles Castellanos, Documenta Universitaria, Girona 2006 (= Vademecum , 1), ISBN 84-934959-9-9 .
  • Laura Minervini: La lingua franca mediterranea. Plurilinguismo, mistilinguismo, pidginizzazione sulle coste del Mediterraneo tra tardo medioevo e prima età moderna. In: Medioevo Romanzo 20 (1996), pp. 231-301, ISSN  0390-0711

Web links

Wiktionary: Lingua franca  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations