lingua franca

(redirected from Common tongue)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.

lingua franca

(lĭng`gwə frăng`kə), an auxiliary language, generally of a hybrid and partially developed nature, that is employed over an extensive area by people speaking different and mutually unintelligible tongues in order to communicate with one another. Such a language frequently is used primarily for commercial purposes. Examples are the several varieties of the hybrid pidgin English (see pidginpidgin
, a lingua franca that is not the mother tongue of anyone using it and that has a simplified grammar and a restricted, often polyglot vocabulary. The earliest documented pidgin is the Lingua Franca (or Sabir) that developed among merchants and traders in the Mediterranean
..... Click the link for more information.
); Swahili, a native language of E Africa (see Swahili languageSwahili language,
member of the Bantu group of African languages (see African languages and Bantu languages). Swahili is spoken by 30 million people, chiefly in Tanzania, Kenya, Congo (Kinshasa), Burundi, and Uganda, and serves as a lingua franca for additional millions in E
..... Click the link for more information.
); Chinook jargon, a lingua franca formerly used in the American Northwest that was a mixture of Chinook, other Native American languages, English, and French; and a variety of Malay (called bazaar Malay), which served as a compromise language in the area of British Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and neighboring regions (see Malayo-Polynesian languagesMalayo-Polynesian languages
, sometimes also called Austronesian languages
, family of languages estimated at from 300 to 500 tongues and understood by approximately 300 million people in Madagascar; the Malay Peninsula; Indonesia and New Guinea; the Philippines;
..... Click the link for more information.
). The original lingua franca was a tongue actually called Lingua Franca (or Sabir) that was employed for commerce in the Mediterranean area during the Middle Ages. Now extinct, it had Italian as its base with an admixture of words from Spanish, French, Greek, and Arabic. The designation "Lingua Franca" [language of the Franks] came about because the Arabs in the medieval period used to refer to Western Europeans in general as "Franks." Occasionally the term lingua franca is applied to a fully established formal language; thus formerly it was said that French was the lingua franca of diplomacy.

Bibliography

See H. R. Kahane et al., The Lingua Franca in the Levant (1958); R. A. Hall, Jr., Pidgin and Creole Languages (1966); B. Heine, Status and Use of African Lingua Francas (1970).

lingua franca

It implies a common, or standard, language. The term is used in the information industry to refer to the most-widely used format, protocol or command language for a particular purpose. Its actual meaning is "Frankish language," which is spoken in various Mediterranean ports and is a combination of Italian, Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic and Turkish. Its original meaning also implies a hybrid or mixture of languages.
References in periodicals archive ?
As Anzaldua suggests, a common tongue that can express people's "realities and values" makes possible the cultural process of community formation around a shared form of life.
English remains the most common tongue, being spoken by 51% of Europeans (13% as their mother tongue and 38% as a foreign language), followed by German (32%, including 14% as a foreign language), French (26%, including 14% as a second language), Italian (16%, including 3% as a foreign language), Spanish (15%, including 6% as a foreign language), Polish (10%, including 1% as a foreign language) and Russian (7%, including 6% as a foreign language).
Whatever else they shared, apart from this label, it certainly was no common tongue.
Indeed, this unselfconscious fluency in the common tongue readily gives the lie to any notion of 19th-century "Negro inferiority," and it should have been apparent at the time as well.
For a while the Queen and Mrs Putin conversed freely, presumably in French, their only known common tongue.
Brown approaches surfing less as a sport than as a language--a common tongue uniting disparate nomads from all comers of the Earth.
In fact, one wonders if it is even appropriate to speak of English society as if early modern England was indeed a nation rather than a collection of local entities barely united by a common tongue under a monarch.
Instead of promoting a common tongue, the government enforces a rigid policy of bilingualism.
Of course, as a first language, the world's most common tongue is not European, but Asian.
We are two-headed like Eng and Chang the Siamese Twins--but our heads are from different countries with no common tongue.
Of course, as a first language, the world's most common tongue is not European but Asian: Mandarin Chinese is now spoken by nearly 900 million people.