Chapter ID: CBB324778890

Lingua Franca and Migrations (2019)


Guido Cifoletti (Author)

Pages: 84-92
Publication date: 2019
Language: English

Many legends have risen about the Mediterranean Lingua Franca: that it was used at the time of the Crusades, that it was an important mean of communication (and reciprocal comprehension) between Christians and Muslims, that it was a trade language. But the study of sources leads us to different conclusions. The Lingua Franca had a social importance only in the so-called Regencies, that is Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, at the age of the Ottoman Empire, since the 16th century up to 1830. In that year, Algiers was conquered by the French army, and after that Lingua Franca had no reason to exist: it survived for about fifty years with the new name Sabir. I think that it wasn’t mainly a trade language because nearly all its documents don’t concerne commerce; and in that period, the exchanges of goods between the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea didn’t have great importance. But why at that time a pidgin like this was created? I have an hypothesis, connected with migration of peoples. At that time, Italian was the most important language of Europe, and it was employed for communication between speakers of different languages; but at the southern side of the Mediterranean Sea, it was considered a Christian language, the main language of Christianity, and for this reason it was hated. On the other hand, Maghreb countries were full of people who could speak Italian or a nearly related language. There were communities of Sefardi Jews, of Moriscos (Muslims expelled from the reign of Castile), Tagarins (Muslims from the reign of Aragon); and many of the Turks, the rulers of the Regencies, were renegades from southern Europe. For all these people, to speak some sort of Italian wouldn’t have been so difficult; but they refused, and for this reason created a pidgin language.

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Book Stefania Gialdroni; Dauchy, Serge,; Cordes, Albrecht (2020) Migrating words, migrating merchants, migrating law: trading routes and the development of commercial law. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Krokar, James P.
Ludwig, David
Marabini, Stefano
Meskell, Lynn
Terrall, Mary
Vai, Gian Battista
Annual Review of Anthropology
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Berghahn Books
Edizioni ETS
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
intercultural communication
Commercial law
Travel; exploration
Adanson, Michel
Mach, Ernst
Ricci, Matteo
Wittgenstein, Ludwig
Lussana, Filippo
Time Periods
19th century
Early modern
16th century
20th century, early
12th century
15th century
Ottoman Empire
United Nations

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