La lingua franca fra ieri ed oggi
This article aims at reconsidering the concept of lingua franca, focusing in on the limited field of Maghreb in the period from sixteenth century to the beginning of the Colonial Period. By analysing samples of set phrases taken from the Dictionnaire de la langue franque ou petit-mauresque, published in Marseille in the year of the conquest of Algiers by the French, it emerges not only that this vehicular contact language is the simplest common denominator between Italian and Spanish, the most spoken languages in the Maghreb before the French conquest, but also that no Arabic element is included in it. This proves that this language was more a contact language among Christians living in the Barbaric States than a vehicular language between Christians and Muslims. In conclusion, this article presents a reflection on further developments of Italian and Spanish in Maghreb, from the colonial period to decolonization and post-colonial era.
Keywords: Berber Coast • Maghreb • Lingua Franca • Intercomprehension between romance languages • Linguistic ecology