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A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a
native language A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), g ...
or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages. Lingua francas have developed around the world throughout human history, sometimes for commercial reasons (so-called "trade languages" facilitated trade), 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 is taken from the medieval Mediterranean Lingua Franca, an
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
-based
pidgin language A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lang ...
used especially by traders in the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
from the 11th to the 19th centuries. A
world language In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on language. I ...
– a language spoken internationally and by many people – is a language that may function as a global lingua franca.


Characteristics

Any language regularly used for communication between people who do not share a native language is a lingua franca. Lingua franca is a functional term, independent of any linguistic history or language structure.
Pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lang ...

Pidgin
s are therefore lingua francas; creoles and arguably
mixed languages A mixed language is a language that arises among a bilingual group combining aspects of two or more languages but not clearly deriving primarily from any single language. It differs from a creole or pidgin language in that, whereas creoles/pidgin ...
may similarly be used for communication between language groups. But lingua franca is equally applicable to a non-creole language native to one nation (often a colonial power) learned as a
second language A person's second language, or L2, is a language that is not the native language (first language or L1) of the speaker, but is learned later (usually as a foreign language, but it can be another language used in the speaker's home country). A speak ...
and used for communication between diverse language communities in a colony or former colony. Lingua francas are often pre-existing languages with native speakers, but they can also be pidgin or creole languages developed for that specific region or context. Pidgin languages are rapidly developed and simplified combinations of two or more established languages, while creoles are generally viewed as pidgins that have evolved into fully complex languages in the course of adaptation by subsequent generations. Pre-existing lingua francas such as French are used to facilitate intercommunication in large-scale trade or political matters, while pidgins and creoles often arise out of colonial situations and a specific need for communication between colonists and indigenous peoples. Pre-existing lingua francas are generally widespread, highly developed languages with many native speakers. Conversely, pidgin languages are very simplified means of communication, containing loose structuring, few grammatical rules, and possessing few or no native speakers. Creole languages are more developed than their ancestral pidgins, utilizing more complex structure, grammar, and vocabulary, as well as having substantial communities of native speakers. Whereas a
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language A first language, native tongue, native langua ...
language is the native language of a specific geographical community, a lingua franca is used beyond the boundaries of its original community, for trade, religious, political, or academic reasons. For example, English is a in the United Kingdom but it is used as a in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

Philippines
, alongside
Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, ...
.
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
,
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...

French
,
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
, and
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
serve similar purposes as industrial and educational lingua francas across regional and national boundaries. Even though they are used as bridge languages,
international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and wr ...
s such as
Esperanto Esperanto ( or ) is the world's most widely spoken Constructed language, constructed international auxiliary language. Created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, it was intended to be a universal second language for international ...
have not had a great degree of adoption, so they are not described as lingua francas.


Etymology

The term "lingua franca" derives from Mediterranean Lingua Franca (also known as ''Sabir''), the pidgin language that people around the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the G ...

Levant
and the eastern Mediterranean Sea used as the main language of commerce and diplomacy from late
medieval times Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is a family dinner theater featuring staged medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation an ...
to the 18th century, most notably during the
Renaissance era The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th ...
. During that period, a simplified version of mainly Italian in the eastern and Spanish in the western Mediterranean that incorporated many
loan words A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ( ...
from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, the
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...

Slavic languages
,
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
, and
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
came to be widely used as the "lingua franca" of the region, although some scholars claim that the Mediterranean Lingua Franca was just poorly used
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
. In Lingua Franca (the specific language), is from the Italian for "a language." is related to Greek () and Arabic () as well as the equivalent Italian—in all three cases, the literal sense is "
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...
", leading to the direct translation: "language of the Franks". During the late
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...

Byzantine Empire
, "Franks" was a term that applied to all . The overall phrase of ''lingua franca'' is also speculated to originate from "lisan al-Farang" (Arabic: لسان الفرنجة), which also means the "language of the Franks". Through changes of the term in literature, "lingua franca" has come to be interpreted as a general term for pidgins, creoles, and some or all forms of vehicular languages. This transition in meaning has been attributed to the idea that pidgin languages only became widely known from the 16th century on due to European colonization of continents such as The Americas, Africa, and Asia. During this time, the need for a term to address these pidgin languages arose, hence the shift in the meaning of Lingua Franca from a single proper noun to a common noun encompassing a large class of pidgin languages. As recently as the late 20th century, some restricted the use of the generic term to mean only
mixed language A mixed language is a language that arises among a bilingual group combining aspects of two or more languages but not clearly deriving primarily from any single language. It differs from a creole or pidgin language in that, whereas creoles/pidgin ...
s that are used as vehicular languages, its original meaning. Douglas Harper's ''Online Etymology Dictionary'' states that the term "Lingua Franca" (as the name of the particular language) was first recorded in English during the 1670s, although an even earlier example of the use of it in English is attested from 1632, where it is also referred to as "Bastard Spanish".


Usage notes

The term is well established in its naturalization to English, which is why major dictionaries do not italicize it as a "foreign" term. Its plurals in English are lingua francas and linguae francae, with the former being first-listed or only-listed in major dictionaries.


Examples

The use of lingua francas has existed since antiquity.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
and
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
were the lingua francas of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
and the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, We ...

Hellenistic
culture.
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
(died out during
Classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ...
) and then
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramai ...
remained the common languages of a large part of Western Asia from several earlier empires. The majority of pre-colonial North American nations communicated internationally using Hand Talk. Also called Prairie Sign Language, Plains Indian Sign Language, or First Nations Sign Language, this
language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyphs to inscribe the original soun ...

language
functioned predominately—and still continues to function—as a second language within most of the (now historical)
countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

countries
of the Great Plains, from Newe Segobia in the West to Anishinaabewaki in the East, down into what are now the northern states of Mexico and up into
Cree The Cree ( cr, Néhinaw, script=Latn, , etc.; french: link=no, Cri) are a North American Indigenous people. They live primarily in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canad ...

Cree
Country stopping before Denendeh. The relationship remains unknown between Hand Talk and other manual Indigenous languages like
Keresan Sign Language Keresan Sign Language, also known as Keresan Pueblo Indian Sign Language (KPISL) or Keresign, is a village sign language spoken by many of the inhabitants of a Keres people, Keresan pueblo with a relatively high incidence of congenital deafness (th ...
and
Plateau Sign Language Plateau Sign Language, or Old Plateau Sign Language, is a poorly attested, extinct sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including spee ...
, the latter of which is now extinct (though Ktunaxa Sign Language is still spoken). Although unrelated, perhaps
Inuit Sign Language Inuit Sign Language (IUR, Inuktitut Inuktitut (; , syllabics ; from , "person" + , "like", "in the manner of"), also Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, is one of the principal Inuit languages of Canada. It is spoken in all areas north of the tree ...
played and continues to play a similar role across
Inuit Nunangat Inuit Nunangat (; Inuktitut syllabics: ; lit. "lands, waters and ices of the
nuit Nuit (alternatively Nu, Nut, or Nuith) is a goddess in Thelema, the speaker in the first Chapter of '' The Book of the Law'', the sacred text written or received in 1904 by Aleister Crowley Aleister Crowley (; born Edward Alexander Crowley; ...
people") is the homeland of the Inuit in Canada. This Arctic homeland consists of four Northern Canada, northern Canadian regions called the Inuvialuit Settleme ...
and the various
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
dialects The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
. The original Hand Talk is found across
Indian Country Indian country is any of the many self-governing Native American/American Indian communities throughout the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Conti ...
in pockets, but it has also been employed to create new or revive old languages, such as with Oneida Sign Language. Sogdian was used to facilitate trade between those who spoke different languages along the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade route A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of ...

Silk Road
, which is why native speakers of Sogdian were employed as translators in
Tang China The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty ...
. The Sogdians also ended up circulating spiritual beliefs and texts, including those of
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...

Buddhism
and
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...

Christianity
, thanks to their ability to communicate to many people in the region through their native language. The
Hindustani language Hindustani (; Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida . ''M ...
(
Hindi Hindi ( Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST/ ISO 15919: ''Hindī''), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi ( Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST/ ISO 15919: ''Mānak Hindī''), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in ...

Hindi
-
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal c ...

Urdu
) is the lingua franca of
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...

Pakistan
and
Northern India North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second- ...
. Many Indian states have adopted the Three-language formula in which students in Hindi-speaking states are taught: "(a) Hindi (with Sanskrit as part of the composite course); (b) Urdu or any other modern Indian language and (c) English or any other modern European language." The order in non-Hindi speaking states is: "(a) the regional language; (b) Hindi; (c) Urdu or any other modern Indian language excluding (a) and (b); and (d) English or any other modern European language."
Hindi Hindi ( Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST/ ISO 15919: ''Hindī''), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi ( Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST/ ISO 15919: ''Mānak Hindī''), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in ...

Hindi
has also emerged as a lingua franca for the locals of
Arunachal Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh (, literally "land of dawn-lit mountains") is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Arunachal Pradesh
, a linguistically diverse state in Northeast India. It is estimated that 90 percent of the state's population knows Hindi.
Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants of the archipelago ** Indonesian w ...
– a standardized form of the
Malay language Malay (; ms, bahasa Melayu, links=no, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Wester ...
understood across the Malay world including
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...

Singapore
and
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Aus ...

Brunei
, originating from a variant spoken in
Riau Riau is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Ocea ...
– is the official language and a lingua franca in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of more than List of islands ...

Indonesia
, although Javanese has more native speakers. Still, Indonesian is the sole official language and is spoken throughout the country even though it is the first language of a very small minority of Indonesians.
Swahili Swahili may refer to: * Swahili language, a Bantu language official in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and widely spoken in the African Great Lakes * Swahili people, an ethnic group in East Africa * Swahili culture, the culture of the Swahili people * Sw ...
developed as a lingua franca between several
Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styling, Bantu knots, a type of African hairstyle *Blac ...
-speaking tribal groups on the east coast of Africa with heavy influence from Arabic. The earliest examples of writing in Swahili are from 1711. In the early 19th century the use of Swahili as a lingua franca moved inland with the Arabic ivory and slave traders. It was eventually adopted by Europeans as well during periods of colonization in the area. German colonizers used it as the language of administration in
German East Africa German East Africa (german: Deutsch-Ostafrika) (GEA) was a German colonial empire, German colony in the African Great Lakes region, which included present-day Burundi, Rwanda, the Tanzania mainland, and the Kionga Triangle, a small region later ...

German East Africa
, later becoming
Tanganyika Tanganyika may refer to: * Tanganyika (territory) Tanganyika was a territory located on the continent of Africa, and administered by the United Kingdom from 1916 until 1961. The UK initially administered the territory as an occupying power with ...
, which influenced the choice to use it as a national language in what is now independent
Tanzania Tanzania (;This approximates the Kiswahili pronunciation. However, is also heard in English. ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes regi ...

Tanzania
.
Swahili Swahili may refer to: * Swahili language, a Bantu language official in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and widely spoken in the African Great Lakes * Swahili people, an ethnic group in East Africa * Swahili culture, the culture of the Swahili people * Sw ...
(known to natives as Kiswahili) is currently one of the national languages and it is taught in schools and universities in several East African countries, thus prompting it to be regarded as a modern-day lingua franca by many people in the region. Several
Pan-African Pan-Africanism is a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent. Based on a common goal dating back to the Atlantic slave trade The Atlant ...
writers and politicians have unsuccessfully called for Swahili to become the lingua franca of Africa as a means of unifying the African continent and overcoming the legacy of colonialism.
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
is often used by non-native English speakers who have different mother tongues to communicate with one another. In the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million ...

European Union
, the use of
English as a lingua franca English as a lingua franca (ELF) is the use of the English language "as a global means of inter-community communication" (Seidlhofer 2016: 20) and can be understood as "''any use of English among speakers of different first languages for whom Engl ...
has led researchers to investigate whether a new dialect of English ( Euro English) has emerged. When the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
became a colonial power, English served as the lingua franca of the colonies of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. In the post-colonial period, some of the newly created nations which had multiple
indigenous language An indigenous language or autochthonous language, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have ...
s opted to continue using English as one of their official languages. A couple of examples of these nations are
Ghana Ghana (), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It spans along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, sharing borders with the Ivory Coast in Ghana–Ivory Coast border, the west, Burkina Faso in Burkina Faso–Gha ...

Ghana
and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most populous nation a ...

South Africa
.
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
is also taught in schools and used as a lingua franca in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...

Singapore
, a country that has four official languages. Although not spoken as a first language by most African French speakers,
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...

French
is a lingua franca in most Western and Central African countries and an official language of many, a remnant of
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...
and
Belgian Belgian may refer to: * Something of, or related to, Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a contine ...

Belgian
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose thei ...

colonialism
. These African countries and others are members of the
Francophonie The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF; sometimes shortened to the Francophonie, french: La Francophonie , but also called International Organisation of La Francophonie in English-language context) is an international organiza ...

Francophonie
. The
Spanish language Spanish ( or , ) is a Romance languages, Romance language of the Indo-European language family that evolved from colloquial spoken Latin in the Iberian Peninsula. Today, it is a world language, global language with nearly 500 million native spea ...

Spanish language
spread mainly throughout the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The rem ...
, becoming a lingua franca in the territories and colonies of the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) during the Early Modern period, was a colonial empire ...

Spanish Empire
. It is also one of the most taught foreign languages throughout the world and is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations. International Sign, though a
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lang ...

pidgin
language, is present at most significant international gatherings, from which interpretations of national
sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with #Non-manual elements, non-manual elements. Sign lan ...

sign language
s are given, such as in LSF, , BSL, Libras, or
Auslan Auslan () is the majority sign language of the Australian Deaf community. The term ''Auslan'' is a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "Portmanteau (luggage), portmanteau") is a Blend word, blend of wordsEuropean Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million ...

European Union
parliamentary or committee sittings, during certain
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
affaires, conducting international sporting events like the
Deaflympics The Deaflympics (previously called World Games for the Deaf, and International Games for the Deaf) are an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. Unlike the athletes in other IOC-san ...
, in all
World Federation of the Deaf The world is the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several large landmass ...
functions, and across similar settings. The language has few set internal grammatical rules, instead co-opting national vocabularies of the speaker and audience, and modifying the words to bridge linguistic gaps, with heavy use of
gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and body ...
and classifiers.
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
is in use and widely understood in Central Asia and the Caucasus, areas formerly part of the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, succeeding the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad that ended the Great Northern War. T ...
and
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a Political union, union of multiple national Republics of t ...
, and in much of Central and Eastern Europe. It remains the official language of the
Commonwealth of Independent States The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS; russian: Содружество Независимых Государств, СНГ, translit=Sodruzhestvo Nezavisimykh Gosudarstv, SNG) is a regional intergovernmental organization in Eastern Europ ...

Commonwealth of Independent States
. Russian is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
, an
Iranian language The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking these languages * India–Iran relations * ''Indo-Iranian Journal'' See ...
, is the official language of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north ...

Iran
,
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the eas ...

Afghanistan
(
Dari Dari (, , ), or Dari Persian (, ), is a political term used for the various dialects of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, interna ...
) and
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; Persian language, Persian: ; meaning ''Monday''; russian: Душанб ...

Tajikistan
( Tajik). It acts as a lingua franca in both Iran and Afghanistan between the various ethnic groups in those countries. The Persian language in
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lan ...

South Asia
, before the , was the region's lingua franca and a widely used official language in
north India North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second- ...

north India
and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...

Pakistan
.
Old Church Slavonic Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic (, ) was the first Slavic literary language. Historians credit the 9th-century Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius with standardizing the language and using it in translating the Bible ...
, an
Eastern South Slavic The Eastern South Slavic dialects form the eastern subgroup of the South Slavic languages The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo- ...
language, is the first
literary language A literary language is the form of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system c ...
. Between 9th and 11th century it was lingua franca of a great part of the predominantly states and populations in
Southeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeast
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. Russia, loca ...

Eastern Europe
, in
liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksgiving, remembrance ...
and church organization, culture, literature, education and diplomacy.
Hausa Hausa may refer to: * Hausa people, an ethnic group of West Africa * Hausa language, spoken in West Africa * Hausa Kingdoms, a historical collection of Hausa city-states * Hausa (horse) or Dongola horse, an African breed of riding horse See also

can also be seen as a lingua franca because it is the language of communication between speakers of different languages in Northern
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is the List of African countries by population, most populous country in Africa; geographically situated between the Sahel to the north, and the Gulf of ...

Nigeria
and other
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, ...

West Africa
n countries, including the northern region of Ghana.
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
was used as a lingua franca across the Islamic empires, whose sizes necessitated the need for a common language. In
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Somaliland in the south, Ethiopia in the southwest, Eritrea in the no ...

Djibouti
and parts of
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍𐒇𐒘𐒏𐒖 ...

Eritrea
, both of which are countries where multiple official languages are spoken,
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
has emerged as a lingua franca in part thanks to the population of the region being predominantly
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, ...
and Arabic playing a crucial role in the religion of
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
. In addition, after having fled from Eritrea due to ongoing warfare and gone to some of the nearby Arab countries, Eritrean emigrants are contributing to Arabic becoming a lingua franca in the region by coming back to their homelands having picked up the Arabic language. In
Qatar Qatar (, , or ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares its ...

Qatar
, the medical community is primarily made up of workers from countries without English as a native language. In medical practices and hospitals, nurses typically communicate with other professionals in English as a lingua franca. This occurrence has led to interest in researching the consequences and affordances of the medical community communicating in a lingua franca.


See also

*
Rosetta Stone The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a Rosetta Stone decree, decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Egy ...

Rosetta Stone
*
Global language systemThe global language system is the "ingenious pattern of connections between language groups". Dutch sociologist Abram de Swaan developed this theory in 2001 in his book ''Words of the World: The Global Language System'' and according to him, "the ...
*
International auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and wr ...
*
Koiné language In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
*
Language contact Language contact occurs when speakers of two or more languages or varieties interact and influence each other. The study of language contact is called contact linguistics. When speakers of different languages interact closely, it is typical for th ...
*
List of languages by number of native speakers This article ranks human languages by their number of native speaker A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1), is a language that a person has been exposed to f ...

List of languages by number of native speakers
*
List of languages by total number of speakers This is a list of languages by the total number of speakers. It is difficult to define what constitutes a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed lan ...
* Mediterranean Lingua Franca *
Mixed language A mixed language is a language that arises among a bilingual group combining aspects of two or more languages but not clearly deriving primarily from any single language. It differs from a creole or pidgin language in that, whereas creoles/pidgin ...
*
Mutual intelligibility In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
*
Pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lang ...

Pidgin
*
InterlinguisticsInterlinguistics, as the science of planned languages, has existed for more than a century as a specific branch of linguistics for the study of various aspects of linguistic communication. Interlinguistics is a discipline formalized by Otto Jespersen ...
*
Universal language Universal language may refer to a hypothetical or historical language spoken and understood by all or most of the world's population. In some contexts, it refers to a means of communication said to be understood by all humans. It may be the idea ...
*
Working language A working language (also procedural language) is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a wri ...
*
World language In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on language. I ...


References


Further reading

* * * * * *


External links

* * * from
Juan del Encina Juan del Encina (July 12, 1468 – 1529 or 1530)Slonimsky, Nicolas, ed. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians seventh edition. London, England: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1984: 662 was a composer, poet, and playwright,Magill, Frank N., e ...
, ''Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme'',
Carlo Goldoni Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni (, also , ; 25 February 1707 – 6 February 1793) was an Italian playwright and librettist from the Republic of Venice. His works include some of Italy's most famous and best-loved plays. Audiences have admired the play ...

Carlo Goldoni
's ''L'Impresario da Smyrna'', Diego de Haedo and other sources * {{DEFAULTSORT:Lingua Franca Languages by place in society Interlinguistics Italian words and phrases