lingua franca


lin·gua fran·ca

noun \ˈliŋ-gwə-ˈfraŋ-kə\

: a language that is used among people who speak various different languages

plural lingua francas or lin·guae fran·cae \-gwē-ˈfraŋ-(ˌ)kē\

Full Definition of LINGUA FRANCA

1
often capitalized :  a common language consisting of Italian mixed with French, Spanish, Greek, and Arabic that was formerly spoken in Mediterranean ports
2
:  any of various languages used as common or commercial tongues among peoples of diverse speech
3
:  something resembling a common language <movies are the lingua franca of the twentieth century — Gore Vidal>

Examples of LINGUA FRANCA

  1. English is used as a lingua franca among many airline pilots.

Origin of LINGUA FRANCA

Italian, literally, Frankish language
First Known Use: 1619

Other Language Terms

cognate, collocation, homonym

Rhymes with LINGUA FRANCA

lingua franca

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Language used for communication between two or more groups that have different native languages. It may be a standard language—for example, English and French are often used for international diplomacy, and Swahili is used by speakers of the many different local languages of eastern Africa. A lingua franca may also be a pidgin, like Melanesian Pidgin, widely used in the southern Pacific. The term lingua franca (Latin: “Frankish language”) was first applied to a pidgin based on French and Italian developed in the Mediterranean. See also creole.

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