This fine site has everything you’re likely to want to know about lingua franca (Wikipedia), “a mixed language… [formerly] used for communication throughout the Middle East.” The Prefatory Note says:

I am happy to present the fourth edition of the Lingua Franca Website…

A transcript of a valuable lecture delivered on April 22, 2002 by Professor Roberto Rossetti at the University of Nantes, France, has been included. Of particular interest are the Bibliography and Chronologies which follow his lecture, and are given a separate listing on the Index. Even individuals who do not read French readily will be able to make good use of these careful listings. Some additional texts have been added and annotated.

A new section called “Conversazioni” contains materials received from colleagues which I have slightly annotated and edited. It seems to me that these may give encouragement to younger researchers to expand our knowledge of this area, and also demonstrate how the Internet can increase knowledge. As King Solomon said: Iron sharpeneth iron; and a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

A brief sample:

“Spagnoli venir … boum boum … andar; Inglis venir … boum boum bezef … andar; Francés venir … tru tru tru … chapar.”
‘The Spaniards came, cannonaded, and left. The English came, cannonaded heavily, and left. The French came, blew their bugles, and captured [Algiers].’

(I can’t remember where I found this link; if you sent it to me, let me know and I’ll provide credit.)


  1. Hmmm… Middle East… fallen city walls….bugles (horns?)…
    Are you sure it was Algiers and not Jericho? And French in question weren’t actually Israelites?

  2. That’s funny, I just looked up Sabir/Lingua Franca after encountering it as a spoken language in Neal Stephenson’s The Confusion, much of which takes place in the Middle East circa 1690. I ended up here; your links are much better.

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