lingua franca noun (lingua francas) 1 a language, or often a simplified form of it, that has been chosen as a means of communication amongst the speakers of different languages. 2 any hybrid language that has been chosen as a means of communication amongst the speakers of different languages. 3 usually with reference to music and the arts: any system or set of conventions that are readily and easily understood • the lingua franca • of ballet. 4 historical a form of Italian with a mixture of French, Spanish, Greek and Arabic words, used in the eastern part of the Mediterranean to make trading easier.
ETYMOLOGY: 17c: Italian lingua franca Frankish language.
Nancy Mitford was fond of flinging French phrases about liberally in her writing and held condescendingly that if the reader did not understand French, then … tough patootie! That was about a half-century ago and I wonder what she would make of our conversations in 2011. Would she buy an ersatz fromage to top her al dente penne? Would she blog to dish the dirt on the latest celeb caught in flagrante delicto or Bluetooth her pics to her PC?
This new international language was what occupied my mind last night. I was in the company of a cross family in a dark, silent house; it appears that the email I subscribe to does not give accurate forecasts of Eskom’s power outages. I locked myself in the bathroom with candles, the wireless and a 2006 Alexanderfontein Merlot, a gift from My Pal Sal. (Thank you so much!)
I later made unfortunate in vino veritas commitments on the telephone, which impact on my lunchtime activities today, so I must get my work quota done pronto this morning; work is coming at me from all sides, I am grateful, albeit a bit anxious.
The bon mot for today comes, as it so often does, from my beloved Mr. Crisp:
“Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne”.
ps: A very big congratulations to my friend Mid-Thirty Misfit for landing the job she wanted so badly. Cheers, Kiddo, things are just going to get better and better from now on. I’m rooting for you; you’re the berries!