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Summary Details

Query:   Lingua Franca Passages in L'Europe Galante
Author:  Lawrence A. Rosenwald
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   General Linguistics

Summary:   Regarding query: http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/17/17-715.html#1

Dear Colleagues,

I received a dozen or so responses to my query about the lingua franca
passages in André Campra's L'Europe Galante. I'll summarize them below,
but first wanted to thank all respondents for their kindness and expertise.
The respondents: Michael Betsch, Marc Picard, John Beaven, Charles George
Haberl, Alan Corré, Rachel Selbach (who wrote me while her right arm was in
a cast!), Peter Daniels, Marina Gorlach, Rémy Viredaz, and Marcel Erdal.

1) The text is on the web at
http://www.uwm.edu/~corre/franca/edition3/texts.html - and there's much on
that same site of great interest, a wonderful sampling of passages,
learned annotations for those passages etc.

2) There were multiple views on the ''realness'' of the language, the
genuineness of it; I’ll quote a sampling of those views, not wanting to
distort them by paraphrasing them.

Marc Picard wrote, ''A lingua franca is by definition a real language and
this isn't.''

John Beaven wrote, ''It is probably made up, romance-based gobbledygook
understandable to the audience at the time,'' but later wrote to note that
the passage is listed as being in Sabir on Alan Corré's website (URL above).

Alan Corré himself wrote as follows: ''The Lingua Franca there is quite
acceptable. Actually, it was difficult to write or (more often) speak LF
that was not acceptable, because it was a freestyle way of communicating
that did not develop fixed rules. LF was usually learned as an auxiliary
language, although in its heyday, many must have learned it in early
childhood, for example a Muslim family in North Africa having a Christian
slave to rear the children would probably cause the child to communicate
with his or her caregiver in LF from earliest infancy.''

Rachel Selbach wrote, ''The latter I think [i.e., made up, not real], and
this applies to most of the known sources for LF. They tend to be Literary
and therefore embellished by nature. Particularly unusual in the excerpt
below is the future inflection -ra. 'Typical' LF uses infinitives or
bisogno+inf. to express future tense. In a very general sense, it seems to
me almost impossible to separate myth and reality as far as LF is concerned.''

Rémy Viredaz wrote, ''I would say the passage is suspect of being an
imitation. Suspicious are future forms (cantara) (I would not expect
tenses in lingua franca, especially not a future); the verb exclamar itself
(not basic vocabulary + French consonant group); other words based on
French (Jardina) or Latin (matutina) rather than Italian or Venitian or
popular Spanish; the word dirè (if it is a first singular future - no
synthetic marks of person are expected); the contracted article del;
perhaps the article itself is not expected (su lo momento); the Italian
plural (volte - if Lingua Franca had a plural at all, it could not have
been the Italian plural marked by the vocalic changes -o > -i, -a (if
feminine) > -e, -e > i, but only the Spanish plural -s, cf. frutas).''

3) Several respondents compared the Campra passages with a scene in
Molière's Le bourgeois gentilhomme (later set to music by Lully, and the
scene in question can be found at

4) I'd posted a query elsewhere regarding the pronunciation of the words,
(LL editor note--see NB item:
and would like to cite Charles Haberl's very helpful comments on that
matter in their entirety: ''Lingua franca was always written in an ad hoc
orthography, which generally reflected the language of the individual who
recorded it. In this case, you are completely justified in pronouncing it
as if it were Italian, particularly considering that the Italian vowels
are fairly standard for the Mediterranean. In the mouth of a Turk, the
lines would probably be delivered in a monotone, with a slight accent on
the final syllable of each utterance, e.g. bel.lo co.mo star un FLOR,
du.rar quan.to far ar.BOR. The verbs will all be accented on their final
syllable, I suspect. The x in exclamara gives me pause; in other texts
that I've seen, this letter represents the sound /sh/, but since that sound
is already represented by sci in sciabola, I suspect that the word is
probably pronounced esclamar. In the end, bear in mind that there were
absolutely no rules forthe pronunciation of LF; one of our earliest
authorities on the language, Fray Diego de Haedo, claims that its speakers
basically made things up as they went along, until mutual comprehension was

5) Some other sites and books I was referred to:

Arends, Jacques 1998 A bibliography of Lingua Franca.~ Carrier Pidgin
26:4-5, 33-35.

Schuchardt, Hugo~ 1909~ Die Lingua Franca.~ Zeitschrift für Romanische
Philologie 33:441-61.

Again, my thanks to all, and if you’re going to be near New London,
Connecticut on Friday, July 16th of this summer, do check out the Amherst
Early Music website for details and come see the show!


Larry Rosenwald

LL Issue: 17.944
Date Posted: 29-Mar-2006


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