A lingua franca is the term used to describe a language used systematically to enable effective communication between people with different native languages. Lingua Franca has been used throughout human history and has been used for commercial, religious and diplomatic purposes.
The origin of the term “Lingua Franca” dates back to the Middle Ages when it was used to describe a language or jargon used in the eastern Mediterranean by merchants and crusaders. This first lingua franca included the use of invariant forms of nouns, adjectives and verbs. The term was the combination of the term “Lingua” and “Franca” where “language” translates directly into “language” while ” free“Directly means” Franks “, a term used to describe Europeans from Western Europe during the era of the Byzantine Empire. The lingua franca was widely used in the region during the Renaissance period and in the early 18th century. native speakers were the main actors in the maritime trade and commerce of the region in the Ottoman Empire, the Italian language was the main composition of the lingua franca with language with many Italian words and phrases.Other languages whose words formed the lingua franca include ancient French, Occitan, Arabic, Greek, Turkish and Portuguese.The very first English record attesting to the existence of the word lingua franca was in 1632, where it was known as “Spanish bastard”.
Characteristics of a lingua franca
While lingua franca exists in many forms and variants throughout the world, they all share several common features. A distinct characteristic of a lingua franca is that the lingua franca is defined neither by its linguistic history nor by its linguistic structure, but by its functionality. A French language is not confined within the geographical, cultural or linguistic boundaries of communities that identify themselves as native speakers of the language, unlike a vernacular language that is limited within the linguistic boundaries of the community that uses it as a native language. All the lingua franca is used as a linguistic bridge that connects different cultures, civilizations and religions that otherwise would never have been connected.
Examples of lingua franca
Lingua Franca has been used to link cultures through human history since ancient times. During the Roman Empire era, the lingua franca used throughout the empire was Greek and Latin Koine. The use of Aramaic as a lingua franca in Western Asia had already existed for several centuries and was used in different kingdoms and empires. In East Africa, coastal trade has brought together different cultures from the continent and Asia. Traders used Swahili as a lingua franca which allowed them to understand each other. The best modern example of a lingua franca is English which is used throughout the world and is probably the main lingua franca in the modern world. Other lingua franca languages that are widely used include Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Russian and French.
Creating a lingua franca
There are rare cases in which a lingua franca is successfully created from scratch and the few that are created are defined as “built international auxiliary languages”. The notable example of a “built” lingua franca is Esperanto which was founded in the 19th century as a commercial language.