Lingua franca

A lingua franca (/ˌlɪŋɡwə ˈfræŋkə/; lit. Frankish tongue), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, vehicular language, or link language is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both native languages.

Lingua francas have developed around the world throughout human history, sometimes for commercial reasons (so-called "trade languages") but also for cultural, religious, diplomatic and administrative convenience, and as a means of exchanging information between scientists and other scholars of different nationalities. The term originates with one such language, Mediterranean Lingua Franca. A world language is the idea of a global lingua franca.

Lingua franca is a functional term, independent of any linguistic history or language structure. Pidgins and creoles often function as lingua francas, but many such languages are neither pidgins nor creoles.

Whereas a vernacular language is used as a native language in a community, a lingua franca is used beyond the boundaries of its original community and is used as a second language for communication between groups. For example, English is a vernacular in the United Kingdom but is used as a lingua franca in the Philippines and India. Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and French serve a similar purpose as industrial/educational lingua francas in many areas.

International auxiliary languages such as Esperanto have not had a great degree of adoption globally so they cannot be described as global lingua francas.

The term lingua franca derives from Mediterranean Lingua Franca, the language that people around the Levant and the eastern Mediterranean Sea used as the main language of commerce and diplomacy from late medieval times, especially during the Renaissance era, to the 18th century. At that time, Italian-speakers dominated seaborne commerce in the port cities of the Ottoman Empire and a simplified version of Italian, including many loan words from Greek, Old French, Portuguese, Occitan, and Spanish as well as Arabic and Turkish came to be widely used as the "lingua franca" (in the generic sense used) of the region.

This page was last edited on 20 March 2018, at 15:31.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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