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    Re: Portuguese shipwreck question
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2009 Nov 5, 09:12 +1100
    Thus the need for a lingua franca.  This, incidentally, is the origin of French.  The Gauls were effectively isolated amongst themselves by all these mutually incomprehensible dialects, a situation which evolved and was quite workable for an essentially peaceful rural folk concentrated within a network of villages.  Few travelled far at all, ever.
    Came the Romans.  Resentment grew.  Don't take my word for it, read all about in the pages of Asterix (that's a joke, Wolfgang).  In order to organise effective resistance, they had to act in concert, meaning communication across as many villages as possible was vital.  The other driver was the growing possibility of trade across a larger region, assisted by those good Roman roads and bigger settlements.
    How to communicate?  In pidgin Latin was the answer, it was all that they had in common.  Out of this French grew.  I heard only recently that 80% of French people only 120 years ago (or some such) didn't speak French as a first language, relying on a local dialect instead.  Frankly I think that would have been more likely 200-odd years ago, before Napoleon's introduction of widespread primary education, but it may be true enough in general terms.  The bride's grandparents spoke the local dialect as a first language, although her parents only remembered a scattering of words and phrases when we discussed this long after their childhood, while the bride's generation and those that have followed seem to know almost nothing of any dialect, although as in everything there would be exceptions, I expect.

    On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 7:17 AM, Jackie Ferrari <jferrari@clara.co.uk> wrote:
    I found the same thing when visiting with my husband's family in Emilgia Romagna which is even further from the French Border. The dialect sounds italian but with french endings to the words. They told me there are so many dialects that even fairly close peoples would find it difficult to understand one another.
    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 7:40 PM
    Subject: [NavList 10443] Re: AW: [NavList 10435] Re: AW: [NavList 10430] Re: AW: [NavList 10428] Re: AW: [NavList 10424] Re: Portuguese shipwreck question

    You folks sure get grumpy with each other!

    I don't have a lot to contribute to the lingua franca discussion, but it did remind me of the time I visited my Grandmother's home town.   It's along the Italian/French border west of Torino.   This is the home of the Valdese, who were followers of Peter Waldo, and were chased out Lyon by the Pope in the middle ages.   When I spoke with some of my older relatives, I found that the original language was some form of french.

    The most interesting aspect of the visit was this:  each village, although separated by only a few kilometers, had a slightly different, yet recognizable dialect.    When I say "recognizable" - I mean by someone like me who has only a limited knowledge of french.  This was some version of a Languedoc variant.  So, in the space of a few km, there were substantial shifts in dialect.   I can readily see how sliced up languages would be in the middle ages, if this locality is any indication. 

    In Arabic, what does the prefix "Al" mean?   I see that "Alconstantine" would be Constantinople.

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