Lingua Franca caption

Have you ever heard of “Lingua Franca”? If so, are you familiar with its meaning? When I first came across that term in my English 202 class, I remembered I could barely read it.

Iguana? France? What???


Lingua Franca, according to Oxford, is a “common language between speakers whose native languages are different.” It is also known as a bridging language. Lingua Franca is a common language spoken by two or more entities who do not share the same native tongue. For example, you can say English is the Lingua Franca of almost two thirds of Europeans. Although French is often labeled as the Lingua Franca of diplomacy and favored among the majority within Europe, English is still the most popular Lingua Franca world wide!

Since Lingua Franca is used by speakers who aren’t native to the language, the language itself is understood with more generosity. That is, if you’re a Lingua Franca user, no worries for grammatical errors! As long as you get your point across, the listener will try to understand you.

When two non-native speakers use English as their Lingua Franca, they have the tendency to be more benevolent towards each others’ grammar and word usage as they understand the difficulty of using a foreign language. The grammar mistakes made will also have a lesser tendency to offend each other. This is also known as the benevolence principle.

Intercultural conversational topics are found to be common among Lingua Franca users, from the fact that they come from multicultural backgrounds, with different historical cultures. It is a unique language or second/third tongue that can be adopted and picked up by humans.

Care to share with us what is the Lingua Franca that you speak? 😉


by Esther Seo

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