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Old November 23rd, 2012, 04:04 PM   #11

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A period when to find the roots of French as "lingua franca" is the age of the Crusades when the Byzantine world got in touch with the new Western European powers. They called them generally "Franks". These "Franks" were in good part French for real and also by the Sea Republics the Frank language begun to be used as lingua franca.

For example, among the Templars, medieval French language was very used [the core of the Temple was in France].

Note that German had a similar history in Eastern Europe, again connected with Christian wars and expansion [still today in many countries in that region German is a language studied in school].
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 05:30 PM   #12

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That's true AlpiLuke, French prestige goes back to Middle Ages. But I'll restrict a bit its predominance: French d'oil had a regional prestige during the 11-12th centuries, limited to northern France and Britain. The true prestigious language on the cultural field was Occitan.

Then, after Philip Augustus and during all of the 13th century, French d'oil became after Latin the most prestigious language. But fell from that position in front of Italian, that was the most important (after Latin) during the 14-15 and probably 16th century.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 09:18 PM   #13

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French was the lingua franca because France was the most powerful European country for some time - Germany and Italy were a plethora of small kingdoms and states and Paris was the center of European culture.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 09:21 PM   #14

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Actually the original meaning of Lingua Franca is the language of the Franks, i.e. White Westerners, and was the pidgin tongue spoken for trade in the Eastern Mediterranean--just to confuse matters it was 80% Italian with bits of Provencal, Arabic, Turkish and Greek.
Franks weren't the white westerners - they were the ancestors to the French and the French state, hence the name France. The Dutch, Belgians, and west Germans are also their descendants. People in 800 AD Britain and Iberia were not Franks, despite being white westerners. Middle Easterners called all West Europeans 'Franks' but that a misnomer - like me calling a British man French today!

Last edited by Mike Lynch; November 23rd, 2012 at 10:28 PM.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 01:47 AM   #15
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That's true AlpiLuke, French prestige goes back to Middle Ages. But I'll restrict a bit its predominance: French d'oil had a regional prestige during the 11-12th centuries, limited to northern France and Britain. The true prestigious language on the cultural field was Occitan.

Then, after Philip Augustus and during all of the 13th century, French d'oil became after Latin the most prestigious language. But fell from that position in front of Italian, that was the most important (after Latin) during the 14-15 and probably 16th century.
Yes, I'd say there's this "Capetingian expansion" situation.

The Crusader States were dominated by either north French or Norman French from the start afaik. The Latin Empire of the east after 1204 was the same. The Capetingians went and downright conquered the occitans as part of the crusading in the region eventuella. The Capetingians eventually proceeded to the conquest of southern Italy as well, even if that didn't become lasting.

Add to that how the also frenchspeaking Normans were dominating England and the British Isles. The social/cultural/linguistic core of the kind of feudalism we associate withe the Middle Ages was northern France, Normandy, the Rhineland, and Norman England, and except for the Rhineland it pretty well overlapped the area of northern French at least as the language of the social and military elite at the time. They were spreading feudalism as a political/social/military system along with giving the prestige of "la langud d'oil" a prestige boost.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 02:35 AM   #16

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank81 View Post
That's true AlpiLuke, French prestige goes back to Middle Ages. But I'll restrict a bit its predominance: French d'oil had a regional prestige during the 11-12th centuries, limited to northern France and Britain. The true prestigious language on the cultural field was Occitan.

Then, after Philip Augustus and during all of the 13th century, French d'oil became after Latin the most prestigious language. But fell from that position in front of Italian, that was the most important (after Latin) during the 14-15 and probably 16th century.
In that period I would underline two other factors.

One was geopolitical: since French power deported the Popes in France it was obvious that the language of the dominant power gained importance.

A second factor was connected to literature.

The Occitan troubadours were influential on all continental literature of that perdion. Moreover the Provencal school diffused its vision of love and poetry around the other lands [really visible was this phenomenon in Italian lands where in Sicilia and Florence they got the legacy of the "courteous love".
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Old November 25th, 2012, 03:38 AM   #17

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Franks weren't the white westerners - they were the ancestors to the French and the French state, hence the name France. The Dutch, Belgians, and west Germans are also their descendants. People in 800 AD Britain and Iberia were not Franks, despite being white westerners. Middle Easterners called all West Europeans 'Franks' but that a misnomer - like me calling a British man French today!
Mug-up on medieval history old boy. Frank was a generic term for White Westerners ( i.e. Europeans) in Byzantium, the Middle East and right across Central Asia. The expression remains with us still in the words Farang in Thai, Feringhee in Pushtu, Faranji in Arabic and other derivations.
An American arriving in Afghanistan today will be called Feringhee--the nicest word that is likely to be used for Americans in that land, yet few Americans owe allegiance to Charles Martel.
Western Europeans also called their counterparts Saracens or Turks as a generic, not bothering to isolate them into Kurds, Arabs, Egyptians, Berbers, etc.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:22 PM   #18
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I have one word for you - Napoleon.

Why do you think English is so widespread now? Because it is an awesome language? No!
Because England used to rule a lot of territory and now USA.

Same thing to the French language.
Actually, French was the lingua france before Napolean - Napolean had nothing to do with the popularity of French, French was already popular before he took power. For example, George I of England, who knew no English, would communicate with his English ministers, because they did not know German, but both knew French.

French was the prestige language because France was the richest and most powerful country in Europe by the late middle ages.


It was after the defeat of Napolean that that we start to see the decline in the influence of French, and the rise of English.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 04:20 PM   #19

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Mug-up on medieval history old boy. Frank was a generic term for White Westerners ( i.e. Europeans) in Byzantium, the Middle East and right across Central Asia. The expression remains with us still in the words Farang in Thai, Feringhee in Pushtu, Faranji in Arabic and other derivations.
An American arriving in Afghanistan today will be called Feringhee--the nicest word that is likely to be used for Americans in that land, yet few Americans owe allegiance to Charles Martel.
Western Europeans also called their counterparts Saracens or Turks as a generic, not bothering to isolate them into Kurds, Arabs, Egyptians, Berbers, etc.
Again, middle easterners called all Europeans French, but it doesn't mean that is what a Frank was. If I call you a Frenchman, it would be incorrect, but some people will call you one anyways. Doesn't mean that that you are French.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 01:23 AM   #20

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Again, middle easterners called all Europeans French, but it doesn't mean that is what a Frank was. If I call you a Frenchman, it would be incorrect, but some people will call you one anyways. Doesn't mean that that you are French.
You are still confusing modern-day Frenchmen with Franks. Richard I was regarded as a Frank, but he was neither French and spoke a language only related to French. Conrad II was born in Fulda of Savoyard and Milanese parents and became King of Italy and King of Germany--he was a Frank.
France only became a Kingdom in 1190 on a very small area of the territory now regarded as France.
The vast majority of the "Frankish" knights who trampled all over the middle-east for 200 years were, in any case, Normans and Anglo-Normans, Burgundians, Bretons, Provencal, Flemish and German---barely a real frog in sight.

Last edited by Ancientgeezer; November 27th, 2012 at 01:28 AM.
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