Lingua franca

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A common language (even lingua franca ) is a language based on individual fields of different people linguistic communities, the communication allows ( trade , diplomacy , administration , science ). Commonly used lingua franca today are, for example, English and Spanish .

Some lingua franca are formed anew in everyday contact. Examples are the lingua franca of the Middle Ages and various modern Pidgin . When a community adopts a pidgin language as their mother tongue , it is called a creole language .


In ancient times , Akkadian was used as a lingua franca in the Middle East and was later replaced by Aramaic .

In Hellenism , the Greek language ( Koine ) held this position; In the Middle Ages, the Latin language took this place in upper circles and in the clergy . The Middle Low German was considered the lingua franca of the Hanseatic merchants, the Basarmalaiisch for the Pacific, the Hindustani for the North Indian space and the islands to Fiji . In ancient times z. B. Aramaic, Akkadian, Greek and Latin as commercial languages. The rise of Islam has made Arabic the preferred language of trade from Spain to Central Asia and deep into Africa . In East Asia , Chinese has always played an important role, and in the trading cities on the Silk Road in antiquity and in the early Middle Ages, the Sogdian language as well .

In the late Middle Ages , the Hanseatic League made Low German the language of trade in the Baltic Sea region and Scandinavia as well as in the Netherlands and Flanders . Italian achieved a similar position in the Mediterranean region through trading cities such as Venice , Genoa and Pisa . Especially terms from banking and accounting have entered many languages ​​during this time (e.g. bank, account , balance sheet , bankruptcy , premium / discount ).

In modern times the French language was added as the language of diplomacy , in world trade during the colonial period Portuguese , while the German language fulfilled this function for science in large parts of Europe until the Second World War . Also Dutch and Spanish were important transport and trade languages.

Since the end of World War II is the English language in politics , science and business life dominant. In West and Central Africa , the French language is predominant, while in parts of Eastern Europe the German language is widely spoken and understood, and in Eastern Europe and some countries in Central Asia, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian language . In recent years, German has experienced a rapid boom as a commercial language in East Central Europe and the Balkans . It has replaced Russian ( foreign language number 1 in Eastern Europe during the Cold War ).

In today's East Africa, especially in the states of Uganda , Kenya , Eastern Congo , North Mozambique and Tanzania , Swahili is the dominant lingua franca.

Esperanto is the only one of the approximately 500 planned language projects that has spread worldwide. lists hundreds of current events where Esperanto is spoken today.

Commercial language

A commercial language can be viewed as a special case of a lingua franca. It is an internationally accepted language or technical jargon that is used for communication in international, supraregional or regional trade . Commercial languages ​​are intended to bridge the linguistic gap that exists between buyers and sellers as well as possible intermediaries ( brokers , transporters ) and other parties involved ( banks , insurance companies , authorities ). The internationally recognized commercial language is English . Many pidgin languages have emerged as commercial languages . Business languages ​​are what are known as pidgin forms of the original language, and today's modern business language can be referred to as a form of business pidgin English .

See also


  • Christian Eggarter: Anglicisms in German: For the integration of the English word material into German. In: Education and Teaching. 145: 543-549 (1995).
  • Joachim Grzega: Latin - French - English: Three Epochs of European Language and Vocabulary History. In: Joachim Grzega: EuroLinguistic Parcours: Core knowledge of European language culture . IKO, Frankfurt, pp. 73-114, ISBN 3-88939-796-4 .
  • Christian Pirker: How the lingua anglica became the lingua franca of science. In: Research on the history of education and school museum development in Austria I (= Retrospectives in Education , R. 5, No. 40), ed. by B. Geretschläger and E. Lechner, Klagenfurt 2002, pp. 48–51.

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Geert Hofstede: Intercultural cooperation. 1993, p. 239.