The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

43. What are Lingua Francas?

The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

Nicholas Ostler [+-]
Foundation for Endangered Languages
Nicholas Ostler holds degrees in Greek, Latin, philosophy, and economics from Balliol College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in linguistics and Sanskrit from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied under Noam Chomsky. He is the author of Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World (2005), Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin (2007), The Last Lingua Franca: English until the Return of Babel (2010) and Passwords to Paradise: How Languages have Re-invented World Religions (2016). In addition to these four books, he has published, as author or editor, some five dozen scholarly articles, book chapters, book reviews, and general magazine articles on topics ranging from language history to language technology to general linguistics. He is currently the chairman of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, and lives in Hungerford, England.

Description

When different communities are in contact, they often resort to a lingua franca, a kind of ‘bridge’ language that is distinct from the mother tongues of each group. People learn lingua francas deliberately, in order to achieve some purpose; this means that a lingua franca's fate in the long term is vulnerable to changes in the balance of wealth and power. Along with the current example of English, past examples of Classic Chinese, Persian, Latin, French, and Spanish are discussed.

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Citation

Ostler, Nicholas. 43. What are Lingua Francas?. The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 208-212 Jul 2019. ISBN 9781781798553. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38163. Date accessed: 12 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38163. Jul 2019

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