Lingua Franca Nova

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lingua Franca Nova language)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lingua Franca Nova
lingua franca nova, лингуа франка нова
Flag of Lingua Franca Nova.svg
Created byC. George Boeree
Setting and usageInternational auxiliary language
Users500 on Facebook (2018)[1]
Sourcesbased on Romance and Creole languages
Official status
Regulated byLa Asosia per LFN
Language codes
ISO 639-3lfn
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Lingua Franca Nova (Italian: [ˈliŋɡwa franka ˈnɔva]; abbreviated as LFN or Elefen) is a constructed language originally created by C. George Boeree of Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania.[3] Its vocabulary is based on the Romance languages French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan.[4] The grammar is highly reduced and similar to the Romance creoles, and is easily learned.[4][5][6] The language has phonemic spelling, using 22 letters of either the Latin or Cyrillic scripts.[4][5]

History and community[edit]

Boeree was inspired by the Mediterranean Lingua Franca, a Romance pidgin used by European traders as a lingua franca in the Mediterranean Basin from the 11–18th century, and by various creoles such as Papiamento, Haitian Creole, and Bislama. He used French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan as lexifiers.

LFN was first presented on the Internet in 1998.[7][8] A Yahoo! Group was formed in 2002 by Bjorn Madsen. Group members contributed significantly to the further evolution of the language. In 2007, Igor Vasiljevic began a Facebook page,[9] which has over 500 members. LFN was given an ISO 639-3 designation (lfn) by SIL in 2008.[10]

Stefan Fisahn[11] created a wiki for the language in 2005. The site moved to Wikia in 2009, and as of 2015 had over 3000 articles. The searchable "master" dictionary (LFN–English / English–LFN) was updated by Simon Davies in 2008, and now has over 20,000 entries.[12] A Wikibooks tutorial[13] is available with word lists in eight languages.

In 2019, a homepage using the name "Elefen" was created. Introductions and "LFN for Travellers" are available in 18 languages.[14] Complete grammars are available in English, Spanish, French, Finnish, Russian, Japanese, Esperanto, and LFN.[15]

Previously translated texts, now at a new wiki, include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol, Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth, Shakespeare's King Lear, and Edgar Allan Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. There are also many poems, both translated and original.[16]

Simon Davies's translation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is the first publication of a work entirely in LFN.[17] An English-Elefen-English dictionary [18] was published in 2018. On April 18 the same year, Wikipedia in LFN was officially launched as a regular Wikipedia project.

Orthography and pronunciation[edit]

LFN is normally written using the Latin script. A parallel Cyrillic script is also available:[4][19]

LFN alphabet
Latin script a b c d e f g h i j l m n o p r s t u v x z
Cyrillic script а б к д е ф г х и ж л м н о п р с т у в ш з
IPA [a~ɑ] [b] [k] [d] [e~ɛ] [f] [ɡ] [h] [i/j] [ʒ] [l] [m] [n/ŋ] [o~ɔ] [p] [r] [s] [t] [u/w] [v] [ʃ] [z]
Names a be ce de e ef ge hax i je el em en o pe er es te u ve ex ze

LFN vowels (a, e, i, o and u) are pronounced as they are in Spanish or Italian (approximately as in bar, bait or bet, beet, boat or ball, and boot). The vowels can vary, depending on the speaker, especially a, e, and o, as indicated in the chart above.

Diphthongs are ai [ai~ɑi], au [au~ɑu], eu [eu~ɛu], and oi [oi~ɔi] (approximately as in my, cow, "eh-w", and boy).

The letters i and u are used as semivowels ([j] and [w]) initially before a vowel, between vowels, and in cu and gu before a vowel. The letter n is pronounced as in think ([ŋ]) before g and c, and in final -ng. The letters e and o may vary in pronunciation, as indicated above by tildes (~).

Although stress is not phonemic in LFN, most words are stressed on the vowel or diphthong before the last consonant (e.g. CA-sa, a-be-ON, BA-ia). Words with no vowel before the last consonant are accented on the first vowel (e.g. TI-o). Words ending in a diphthong are accented on the diphthong (e.g. ca-CAU). Those ending in the double vowels ae, ao, ea, eo, oa, oe, or ui are accented on the first of these vowels (e.g. i-DE-a). The addition of -s or -es for plural nouns does not alter the stress.

The phoneme /h/ is highly marginal and may be silent.

The letters k, q, w, and y (ka, qua, wa, and ya) are available for words and names from other languages. Variations in pronunciation are acceptable.[4][20]


LFN is an SVO (subject-verb-object) language. Modifiers generally follow what they modify, as do prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses.[4][21]

Other than the plural in -s or -es, nouns are invariant. A noun's role in a sentence is determined by word order and prepositions. There are 22 prepositions, such as a (at, to), de (of, from), en (in, into), and con (with).

Nouns are usually preceded by articles (la or un) or other determiners such as esta (this, these), acel (that, those), alga (some), cada (every, each), multe (many, much), and poca (few, little). Possessive determiners, cardinal numerals, and the adjectives bon and mal (good and bad) also precede the noun; ordinal numerals follow the noun. A variety of pronouns are identical to or derived from determiners.

The personal pronouns are invariant:

person singular plural
1 me nos
2 tu vos
3 el / lo / on los

El is used for people and higher animals; Lo is used for all else. On is used in the same way as in French or "man" in German.

For the first and second person pronouns, the reflexives are the same as the regular pronouns, and the possessive determiners are mea, nosa, tua, and vosa. Possessive pronouns are formed by using the article la before possessive determiners, e.g. la mea.

Se is the third-person reflexive, singular and plural. The third person possessive determiner, both singular and plural, is sua, and the possessive pronoun is la sua.

Verbs are invariant. The verb alone represents the present tense and the infinitive. Other tenses and moods are indicated by preceding particles:

tense/mood particle example translation
present - me vade I go
past ia me ia vade I went
future va me va vade I will go
conditional ta me ta vade I would go

Adverbs such as ja (already) and auxiliary verbs such as comensa (begin to) are used to add precision. The active participle ends in -nte and the passive participle in -da. They can be used with es (to be) to form a progressive aspect and a passive voice, respectively.

Adjectives are invariant, and adverbs are not distinguished from adjectives. Adjectives follow nouns and adverbs follow verbs but precede adjectives. The comparative is formed with plu or min, the superlative with la plu or la min.

Questions are formed by preceding the sentence with esce or by using one of several "question words", such as cual (what, which), ci (who), do (where), cuando (when), and perce (why).[22] These same words are also used to introduce subordinate clauses, as are words such as si (if), ce (that), car (because), and afin (so that).

Prepositions include a (at, to), de (of, from), ante (before, in front of), pos (after, behind), etc.

Conjunctions include e (and), o (or), and ma (but).


LFN has a small number of regular affixes that help to create new words.[4][21]

Three suffixes that create nouns are -or, -ador, and -eria, which refer to a person, a device, and a place respectively. They can be added to any noun, adjective, or verb. For example:

  • carne (meat) + -or > carnor (butcher)
  • lava + -ador > lavador (washing machine)
  • flor + -eria > floreria (florist shop)

Another suffix is -i which, added to an adjective and some nouns, means "to become" or "to cause to become". It is also used with names for tools, machines, or supplies with the meaning "to use". For example:

  • calda (hot) + -i > caldi (to heat)
  • telefon (telephone) + -i > telefoni (to telephone)

Two more suffixes are -eta, which means a small version of something, and -on, which means a large version of something. (They are not, however, simply synonyms for small and large!) For example:

  • bove (cow, cattle) + -eta > boveta (calf)
  • tela (cloth) + -on > telon (sheet, tablecloth)

There are also three suffixes that turn nouns into adjectives: -al means "pertaining to...," -in means "similar to...," -osa means "full of..." For example:

  • nasion (nation) + -al > nasional (national)
  • serpente (serpent) + -in > serpentin (serpentine)
  • mofo (mold) + -osa > mofosa (moldy)

Other suffixes include -able (-able), -isme (-ism), and -iste (-ist).

There are also several prefixes. Non- means not, re- means again or in the opposite direction, and des- means to undo. For example:

  • non- + felis (happy) > nonfelis (unhappy)
  • re- + pone (place) > repone (replace)
  • des- + infeta (infect) > desinfeta (disinfect)

Other prefixes include pos- (post-), pre- (pre-), supra- (super-), su- (sub-), media- (mid-), vis- (vice-), inter- (inter-), and auto- (auto-, self-)

Compounds of verbs plus objects create nouns:

  • porta (carry) + candela (candle) > portacandela (candlestick)
  • pasa (pass) + tempo (time) > pasatempo (pastime)
  • para (stop) + pluve (rain) > parapluve (umbrella)

Two nouns are rarely joined (as they often are in English), but are linked with de or other prepositions instead:

  • avia de mar - seabird
  • casa per avias - birdhouse
  • xef de polisia - police chief

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lingua Franca Nova". Facebook. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lingua Franca Nova". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "Pennsylvania's dialects are as varied as its downtowns -- and dahntahns".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Harrison, Richard H. (2008) Lingua Franca Nova. Invented Languages, 1, pp. 30 –33.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Elefen - Introduction in English". Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  8. ^ LFN homepage
  9. ^ Facebook
  10. ^ ISO designation
  11. ^ Fisahn, Stefan (2005) Plansprache: Lingua Franca Nova. Contraste, 244, p. 12.
  12. ^ LFN–English Dictionary
  13. ^ Learn LFN
  14. ^ Introductions and "LFN for Travellers"
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "La aventuras de Alisia en la pais de mervelias (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Lingua Franca Nova): Lewis Carroll, John Tenniel, Simon Davies: 9781904808886: Books".
  18. ^
  19. ^ Omniglot
  20. ^ Spelling and Pronunciation
  21. ^ a b Grammar of Lingua Franca Nova
  22. ^ Christo Moskovsky & Alan Libert (2006) Questions in Natural and Artificial Languages. Journal of Universal Language 7, pp 65-120


  • Carroll, Lewis (Trans: Simon Davies). La aventuras de Alisia en la pais de mervelias. Westport, Ireland: Evertype (2012). ISBN 978-1-904808-88-6 [1]
  • Fisahn, Stefan (2005) Plansprache: Lingua Franca Nova. Contraste, 244, p. 12. [2]
  • Harrison, Richard H. (2008) Lingua Franca Nova. Invented Languages, 1, pp. 30 –33. [3]

External links[edit]