When French became the new language of parliament in England in 1066, it was a lingua franca: the vernacular was still English, but in order to communicate, people spoke French, or sometimes Latin.
Much later, during the colonial period, lingua francas were needed again; this time to for communication between the colonisers and the locals.
The main difference between these two scenarios is that in the second, a pidgin was created. A pidgin is a language used primarily for communication between two groups with no common language.
It is thought that the reason behind this is that there were two languages involved after the Norman conquest (French and English), whereas in order to create a pidgin, three languages are needed. Because of the nature of many countries being colonised at the time, there were often three languages: English, and two local dialects. This is essential, because the locals must communicate in the pidgin in order to understand one another. Continue reading