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Jul 24, 2008
This week's theme
Words about words and language

This week's words
grammatolatry
catachresis
parapraxis
lingua franca
orthoepy

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with Anu Garg

lingua franca

PRONUNCIATION:
(LING-gwuh FRANGK-uh)

MEANING:
noun: A language that is widely used by speakers of different languages to communicate with one another.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian lingua franca (language of the Franks). The original lingua franca was Italian mixed with Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish, spoken on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle Ages. The name refers to the Arabic custom of calling all Western Europeans "Franks". Today English serves as the lingua franca of the world.

USAGE:
"At one point, they were called to the front to sing Sierra Leone's national anthem in Krio, the country's lingua franca."
George Packer; The Children of Freetown; The New Yorker; Jan 13, 2003.

"The tango became a culture with its own language, Lunfardo, an intermingling of Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese that asserted itself as the lingua franca of the immigrant generation."
Lisa Traiger; The Original Forbidden Dance; The Washington Post; Feb 7, 2003.

See more usage examples of lingua franca in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
People of small caliber like to sit on high horses. -Magdalena Samozwaniec, writer (1894-1972)

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