Texts

INDEX

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The selection of the following texts in Lingua Franca owes much to Professors Bellman, Parkvall and Rossetti and Dr. Zago. The material from Diego de Haedo was suggested by Mr. Yann Vincent of Tokyo. Thanks are due to all.

Texts in Lingua Franca are different from literary texts that may be compiled into anthologies on the one hand, or texts collected by linguists or anthropologists on the other. The composers of most of these texts are, in a certain sense, hostile witnesses, who would not normally be in the situation of using this pidgin for the purpose for which it came into existence. Rather they use the language – or what they perceive to be the language – to create a particular effect on their listeners, hilarity usually. Probably the Creed and the Dialogues, at a distance of many centuries, come closest to the way in which some kind of Romance interlingua was actually used. The apparent use of some verbal inflexions in the early texts may shed light on the development of the pidgin from its source language or languages.

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The Constantinople Credo

This is the beginning of the Constantinople Credo published by Henry and Renee Kahane. Dr. Zago in her essay is hesitant to regard this as a true sample of Lingua Franca, and it may in fact be a  patois de circonstance.
Kretto a in deo patrem monipotante [omnipotente ?]
kritour sele a dera
ki se voet te tout
a nou se voet;
e a in domnis Gizoun Kriston
filiou deous l in soul…

I believe in one God
The Father almighty
Maker of heaven and earth
Of all that is, seen and unseen;
[lit. Who is seen by all and is not seen]
And in the Lord Jesus Christ
His only begotten son…

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The Conflict with the Maid of Jerba

This is a poetic dialogue discovered by Giusto Grion in l891 in a 14th Century Florentine codex. The island of Jerba was controlled by the Sicilian Navy from 1284 to 1334, but as the text mentions 'the Admiral' (Ruggero di Lauria) who died in January l305, it might have been written before that. The language is not unlike early Italian poetry by Cielo d'Alcamo, except for the choice of having a Jerba maid arguing 'i barra fuor casa mia' which is a loan from Arabic. Jerba, off the coast of Tunisia, is also spelled Djerba or Zerba. Translation by Rossetti.
O la Zerbitana retica!
il parlar ch'ella mi dicia!:
"Per tutto lo mondo fendoto
e barra fuor casa mia."

Oi Zerbitana retica
come ti voler parlare?
se per li capelli prendoto
come ti voler conciare!
cadalzi e pugne moscoto
quanti ti voler donare!
e cosi voler conciare
tutte le votre ginoie.


O the wild Jerba maid
the way she spake unto me:
"I'll hit you to the end of the world
and out of my house."

O wild Jerba maid
how shall I talk to you?
If I grab you by the hair
how I shall thrash you!
kicks and blows raining
how many I shall dispense!
and thus will redress
all of your whims.




"Ardire, ardir, minacciami?
per le partu del giustiziero
va ed escimi fuor di casama
el malvagio, lo barattero!
c'alzasti la gamba a filama,
e festiglil volentero,
e non volesti guardare
alle notre cortesoie.

"You dare, you dare, you threaten me?
By the name of the executioner
get out of my house,
evil doer, cheater!
Who raised the leg to my daughter
And did as you pleased
And would not regard
Our courtesies.
"E ardire, ardir minacciami?
non aver di te paura!
e' mantenemi l'amiralia
chè me ne star ben sigura;
e ardire, ardire? tocomo
e guardar delle mal ventura;
ch'io ti farò pigliare
e metter in prigionoie."

"You dare, you dare, you threaten me?
I do not fear you!
the Admiral keeps me
so that I am well protected.
you dare,you dare? watch out
and beware of a bad predicament;
I shall have you detained
and committed to jail."
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A Villancico imitating Ruffians

This villancico (a genre of Spanish song) by Juan del Encina (1468?-1534), poet, playwright, priest and composer, was published by Harvey, Jones and Whinnom. The rhyming scheme is AAAB CCCB DDDB… apart from the introductory couplet. The Spanish poet was familiar with Lingua Franca, and sought to reproduce it after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land around l520. An original attempt at equating currency values results in naming several coins used 'in the bounds of Judea', the bajocco being a brass coin used in Rome until l867. The meaning is not always clear; a translation is offered by the publishers who give valuable notes. This translation is an attempt by Corré and Rossetti.

Villançico contrahaziendo a los mocaros que sienpre van ynportunando a los peregrinos con demandas

(A villancico imitating the ruffians who constantly importune the pilgrims with their demands.)
Benda ti istran plegrin:
benda, marqueta, maidin.
Benda, benda stringa da da
agugeta colorada.
Dali moro namorada
y ala ti da bon matin.

Give a benda you fresh pilgrim:
a benda, a mark or a mu'ayyidi.
For a benda I give a ribbon,
a red threaded needle.
Give it to an Arab girl friend,
and God give you a good day!
Por ala te rrecomenda
dar maidin marqueta benda
con bestio tuto lespenda
xomaro estar bon rroçin.

By God I advise you,
Give a mu'ayyidi, a mark, or a benda,
and get an animal with full gear.
(This) donkey is a good mount.
Peregrin taybo cristian,
si querer andar Jordan,
pilla per tis jornis pan
que no trobar pan ne vin.

Good christian pilgrim,
if you want to go to the Jordan
take bread for your journey,
For you will find no bread or wine.
Pilla pilla per camino
polastro bona galino
bono fica taybo fino
y taybo zucarrazin.

Take along for the road
A rooster and a good chicken
Good figs excellent and delicate
And good sweet grapes.
Pilla lobo coto ades
per benda dar dos e tres
per marqueta çinca seys
dez e duz per vn maydin.

Take along now boiled eggs:
For a benda they give two or three;
For a mark, five or six;
Ten or twelve for a mu'ayyidi.
Per marqueta e maydin dar
ovos haba per manjar
marqueta bayoco estar
dos bayocos un maydin.

For a mark and a mu'ayyidi they give
eggs and broad beans for a meal.
A mark is worth a bajocco,
A mu'ayyidi is worth two bajoccos.
fin
Marçela çinca maidines
valer Judea confines
taybos no marfuzes rruynes
sy xonar bono tintin.

Envoi
A mark is worth five mu'ayyidi
in the bounds of Judea.
They are good, no fake currency,
If they give a good ring.
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Two Ballads from Venice

These ballads are from: V. Malamani, Il Settecento a Venezia, volume 2 (Roma, 1892) pp. 83-86.

Most of the second volume of Malamani's work is devoted to Venetian poetry of the eighteenth century. Doctor Renata Zago observed that the following two ballads are in Lingua Franca, albeit of a highly italianate character. The second ballad is translated into English by Professor Roberto Rossetti.

Lingua Franca
English Translation
Il Mercante Armeno (1741)
The Armenian Merchant (1741)
D'Armenia vegnira
e stara mercanta,
de gioia tegnira
in quantità tanta
e de China porcelana:
chi voler comprar?
Bela puta veneziana
piaxer tanto, che, per diana,
se ela mi amar
tuto quanto mi donar.

There was once a merchant who came from Armenia. He had such a great quantity of jewelry and porcelain from China. Who wants to buy?
The beautiful Venetian girl pleases me so much that, by Diana, if she loves me, I will give her whatever she wants.
Diamanta e rubina,
smeralda e topaza,
diaspra e turchina
e piera paonazza,
con perla oriantala,
ambra nigra e anca zala,
chi voler comprar?
Bela puta veneziana
piaxer tanto, che, per diana,
se ela mi amar
tuto quanto mi donar.

Diamonds and rubies, emeralds and topaz, jasper, and deep blue and violet stones, with oriental pearls, black amber -- and salt too. Who wants to buy?
The beautiful Venetian girl pleases me so much that, by Diana, if she loves me, I will give her whatever she wants.
Safilla e granata
coralla e amatista
con ochia de gata
che fa bèla vista;
e aver tela fina,
bona e bela bombasina;
chi voler comprar?
Bela puta veneziana
piaxer tanto, che, per diana,
se ela mi amar
tuto quanto mi donar.

Sapphire and garnet, coral and amethyst, with cats' eyes which look beautiful. I have also fine linen, and good and beautiful silk. Who wants to buy?
The beautiful Venetian girl pleases me so much that, by Diana, if she loves me, I will give her whatever she wants.
Carboncia preziosa,
brilanta pagiesca,
cristala vistosa
e pitra grotesca:
persiana fazzoleta,
cana, pipa, camineta.
Chi voler comprar?
Bela puta veneziana
piaxer tanto, che, per diana,
se ela mi amar
tuto quanto mi donar.

Pretty carbuncles, straw-colored diamonds, gaudy crystal and extravagant paintings, Persian kerchiefs, canes [for smoking hashish], pipes and hookahs. Who wants to buy?
The beautiful Venetian girl pleases me so much that, by Diana, if she loves me, I will give her whatever she wants.
Insoma mi avera
de gioia ogni sorte;
parlara sinçera,
vegnir a le corte;
per poco dar via
tuta la mia mercanzia.
Chi voler comprar?
Bela puta veneziana
piaxer tanto, che, per diana,
se ela mi amar
tuto quanto mi donar.

To sum up, I have every kind of jewelry. I tell you sincerely, I go to the courts. I will give you all my merchandise for very little!
The beautiful Venetian girl pleases me so much that, by Diana, if she loves me, I will give her whatever she wants.
Un Turco Inamorà
A Turk in Love
Per mi aver Catina amor,
mi voleri maridar,
star contento in sena el cuor,
tic e toc sentiri far;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

Katie is in love with me! She wants to marry me! I am happy, deep in my heart (or: my heart is happy in my breast); I feel it making tic and toc.
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
A sposeta aver comprà
perla, zogia che lusér;
dar cechina quantità,
tanto, cara, mi piaxer;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

A bride I have purchased; pearls, gems that shine; I gave many sequins, so much I like you, dear;
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
A italiana mi marciar,
de papuzza far scapin,
barba zuffia mi tagiar,
vestir tuto paregin;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

I am departing to Italy [lit: Italian], to make babooshes into slippers. I shall cut my beard and locks, all Parisian I shall dress!
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
Mi mercanta venezian
mio negozio stabilir,
e per zorno de dar man
gran palazza mi fornir;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

I shall establish my business with Venetian merchants, and some day, through their help, I will get a great palace.
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
Andrinopola mai piĆ¹
non andar a veder mi,
e se andar, vardar in su,
sia impalà da Muffeti;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

Adrianople (Edirne) never again shall I see; and if I go, do heed me – may I be impaled by the Mufti!
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
Far fortuna de mio aver,
lassar scrigna in libertà
far de mi quel che voler
pur che aver de mi pietà;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

Make a fortune from what I have; let my coffer go free; do what you want with me, provided only you pity me!
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
Donca, Cate, cossa dir?
mi prometter de sposar,
presto mi voler morir,
sola ti voler amar;
tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

So, Kate, what do you say? Promise you will marry me! Soon would I die, for you alone will I love.
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
Ti dar segno de to amor,
far mi alegro, caro ben;
mi ascoltari far el cuor
tich e toch in mezo al sen.
Tarapatà ta ta ta
d'alegrezza cuor mi fa;
tarapatà ta ta ta
oh mi quanto inamorà!

Give me a sign of your love, make me merry, my dear; listen to my heart making tic and toc in my breast!
Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! My heart jumps with merriment. Tarapata, ta-ta-ta! Oh, how deeply I'm in love!
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Le Bourgeois Gentihomme (Molière/Lully)

La Cérémonie turque

Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière has a Turkish Ceremony in which Lingua Franca is used. Here is the French/Lingua Franca/Turkish text along with an English translation. For the translation of  sabir see Corré's additional note.

French/Lingua Franca/Turkish
English Translation
La Cérémonie turque pour ennoblir le Bourgeois se fait en danse et en musique, et compose le quatrième intermède.

Le Mufti, quatre Dervis, six Turcs dansants, six Turcs musiciens, et autres joueurs d'instruments à la turque, sont les acteurs de cette cérémonie.

Le Mufti invoque Mahomet avec les douze Turcs et les quatre Dervis; après on lui amène le Bourgeois, vêtu à la turque, sans turban et sans sabre, auquel il chante ces paroles:

LE MUFTI
Se ti sabir, [1]
Ti respondir;
Se non sabir,
Tazir, tazir.
Mi star Mufti: [5]
Ti qui star ti?
Non intendir:
Tazir, tazir.
Le Mufti demande, en même langue, aux Turcs assistants de quel religion est le Bourgeois, et ils l'assurent qu'il est mahométan. Le Mufti invoque Mahomet en langue franque, et chante les paroles qui suivent:

LE MUFTI
Mahametta per Giordina
Mi pregar sera é mattina:
Voler far un Paladina [10]
Dé Giourdina, Dé Giourdina.
Dar turbanta, é dar scarcina,
Con galera é brigantina,
Per deffender Palestina. [15]
Mahametta, etc.
Le Mufti demande aux Turcs si le Bourgeois sera ferme dans la religion mahométane, et leur chante ces paroles:

LE MUFTI
Star bon Turca Giourdina? [16]

LES TURCS
Hi valla.
LE MUFTI danse et chante ces mots:
Hu la ba ba la chou ba la ba ba la da.
Les Turcs répondent les mêmes vers.
Le Mufti propose de donner le turban au Bourgeois, et chante les paroles qui suivent:

LE MUFTI
Ti non star furba?
LES TURCS
No, no, no. [20]
LE MUFTI
Non star furfanta?
LES TURCS
No, no, no.
LE MUFTI
Donar turbanta, donar turbanta.
Les Turcs répètent tout ce qu'a dit le Mufti pour donner le turban au Bourgeois. Le Mufti et les Dervis se coiffent avec des turbans de cérémonies, et l'on présente au Mufti l'Alcoran, qui fait une seconde invocation avec tout le reste des Turcs assistants; après son invocation, il donne au Bourgeois l'épée, et chante ces paroles:

LE MUFTI
Ti star nobilé, è non star fabbola.
Pigliar schiabbola. [25]
Les Turcs répètent les mêmes vers, mettant tous le sabre à la main, et six d'entre eux dansent autour du Bourgeois, auquel ils feignent de donner plusiers coups de sabre.

Le mufti commande aux Turcs de bâtonner le Bourgeois, et chante les paroles qui suivent:

LE MUFTI.
Dara, dara,
Bastonnara, bastonnara.
Les Turcs répètent les mêmes vers, et lui donnent plusieurs coup de bâton en cadence.
Le Mufti, après l'avoir fait bâtonner, lui dit en chantant:

LE MUFTI.
Non tener honta;
Questa star ultima affronta. [29]
Les Turcs répétent les mêmes vers.
Le Mufti recommence une invocation, et se retire après la cérémonie avec tous les turcs, en dansant et chantant avec plusieurs instruments à la turquesque.

The Turkish Ceremony to ennoble the Bourgeois is performed in dance and music, and constitutes the fourth interlude.

The Mufti, four Dervishes, six Turkish dancers, six Turkish musicians, and other players of instruments in the Turkish style, are the actors of this ceremony.

The Mufti invokes Mahomet with the twelve Turks and the four Dervishes; afterwards the Bourgeois is brought to him dressed in the Turkish style, without a turban or scimitar. He sings these words to him:

THE MUFTI.
If you know [Lingua Franca],
You will reply;
If you do not know [it],
Be silent, be silent.
I am the Mufti:
Who then are you?
If you do not understand:
Be silent, be silent.

The Mufti asks the Turks who are present in the same language what is the religion of the Bourgeois, and they assure him that he is a Mahometan. The Mufti invokes Mahomet in Lingua Franca, and sings the following words:

THE MUFTI.
Mahomet, for Jourdain
I pray night and day:
I want to make a Paladin
Of Jourdain, of Jourdain.
Give a turban, and give a scimitar,
With a galley and a brigantine,
To defend Palestine.
Mahomet, etc.

The Mufti asks the Turks if the Bourgeois is firm in the Mahometan religion, and he sings to them these words:

THE MUFTI.
Are you a good Turk, Giourdina?

THE TURKS.

Indeed he is.

THE MUFTI dances and sings these words:

Allah is my father (?)

The Turks reply with the same verses.
The Mufti offers to give the turban to the Bourgeois, and sings the following words:

THE MUFTI.
You are not deceitful?

THE TURKS.

No, no, no.

THE MUFTI.

You are not a swindler?

THE TURKS.

No, no, no.

THE MUFTI.
Give the turban, give the turban.

The Turks repeat everything which the Mufti said to give the turban to the Bourgeois. The Mufti and the Dervishes put on their ceremonial turbans, and a Qur'an is presented to the Mufti, who makes a second invocation with all the other Turks present; after his invocation, he gives the sword to the Bourgeois, and sings these words:

THE MUFTI.
You are noble, and it is no fable.
Take the scimitar.

The Turks repeat the same verses, all of them putting a scimitar in their hands, and six of them dance around the Bourgeois, to whom they pretend to give blows with the scimitar.
The Mufti orders the Turks to beat the Bourgeois, and sings the following words:

THE MUFTI.

Give, give

Beat, beat.

The Turks repeat the same verses, and give him several blows with a stick, keeping time.
The Mufti, having had him beaten, sings to him:

THE MUFTI.
Don't be ashamed:

This is the last insult.

The Turks repeat the same verses.
The Mufti starts an invocation again, and departs after the ceremony with all the Turks, dancing and singing with several Turkish-style instruments.

La Cérémonie turque -- A Variant

The Turkish Ceremony has a variant in which the following is included after the second Tazir, tazir. There are other minor differences which are not relevant for our purpose:

Deux Derviches font retirer le Bourgeois. Le Muphty demande aux Turcs de quelle religion est le Bourgeois, et chante:

Dice, Turque, qui star quista. [A1]
Anabatista, anabatista?
LES TURCS répondent.

Ioc.
LE MUPHTY

Zuinglista?
LES TURCS.

Ioc. [A5]
LE MUPHTY.

Coffita?
LES TURCS.

Ioc.
LE MUPHTY.

Hussita? Morista? Fronista?
LES TURCS.

Ioc. Ioc. Ioc.
LE MUPHTY répète

Ioc. Ioc. Ioc. [A10]
Star pagana?
LES TURCS.

Ioc.
LE MUPHTY.

Luterana?
LES TURCS.

Ioc.
LE MUPHTY.

Puritana? [A15]
LES TURCS.

Ioc.
LE MUPHTY

Bramina? Moffina? Zurina?
LES TURCS.

Ioc. Ioc. Ioc.
LE MUPHTY répète.

Ioc. Ioc. Ioc.
Mahametana. Mahametana? [A20]
LES TURCS.

Hey valla. Hey valla.
Two Dervishes lead away the Bourgeois. The Muphty asks the Turks what is the religion of the Bourgeois and sings:

Say, Turk, who is this.
An Anabaptist, an Anabaptist?
THE TURKS reply.

No.
THE MUPHTY

A Zwinglian?
THE TURKS.

No.
THE MUPHTY.

A Copt?
THE TURKS.

No.
THE MUPHTY.

A Hussite? A Moor? A Contemplative?
THE TURKS.

No. No. No.
THE MUPHTY repeats.

No. No. No.
Are you a pagan?
THE TURKS.

No.
THE MUPHTY.

A Lutheran?
THE TURKS.

No.
THE MUPHTY.

A Puritan?
THE TURKS.

No.
THE MUPHTY

A Bramin? A Monophysite? A Syrian?
THE TURKS.

No. No. No.
THE MUPHTY repeats.

No. No. No.
A Mahometan. A Mahometan?
THE TURKS.

Indeed he is. Indeed he is.
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The Impresario from Smyrna, by Carlo Goldoni

L'Impresario delle Smirne by Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793) contains a section in which one character speaks in Lingua Franca, while the remainder speak in Italian. The plot is simple. A rich merchant from Turkey wishes to take a troupe of singers from Italy to stage a performance in Turkey. The comedy hinges on the rapacity of the singers and their hangers-on, and the ignorance of the merchant who has no real idea of what is involved in being an impresario. The comedy is heightened by his use of Lingua Franca. The characters are Ali, the rich merchant; Carluccio, an opinionated male soprano; Lucrezia, a singer from Florence; Tognina, a singer from Venice; Annina, a singer from Bologna; Pasqualino, a tenor, friend of Tognina; Count Lasca, a friend of singers; Maccario, a poor, mediocre poet who writes libretti; Nibio, a theatrical agent; Fabrizio a painter of theatrical scenery, and Beltrame, a hotel keeper. All the speeches in Lingua Franca are by Ali, except for a few echos, usually to poke fun at Ali, which I indicate by boldface type. Ali speaks exclusively in Lingua Franca, and it is apparent from some of his comments (see Act Three Scene Five) that he understands standard Italian quite imperfectly.

Ali appears for the first time in Act Three, sitting on a large sofa in his suite in the hotel. I omit sections which are purely in Italian, and are not necessary to follow the action.

Here is the Italian/Lingua Franca text along with an English translation. Two dots (..) represent an ellipse or unfinished statement in the original text, three represent an omission that I have made. Passages said in an undertone, or as an aside are in parentheses.The sequin, mentioned here, also known as the ducat, was a coin produced in Venice and contained 3.5 grams of gold.
Italian/Lingua Franca
English Translation
ATTO TERZO
THIRD ACT
Scena Prima
Scene One
SERVITORE: Signore, una persona brama di riverirla.
ALI: Star signor? o star canaglia?
SERVITORE: All'aspetto pare una persona civile.
ALI: Far venir.

SERVANT: Sir, someone desires to see you.
ALI: Is he a gentleman? Or is he trash?
SERVANT: He appears to be a respectable person.
ALI: Let him come.
Scena Seconda
Scene Two
CARLUCCIO: Servitor suo. Mi hanno parlato di lei, e per il piacer di conoscerla, son venuto a riverirla.
ALI: Star omo, o star donna?
CARLUCCIO: Star uomo, padrone mio. (S'egli siede, voglio sedere ancor io.)
ALI: Chi aver detto che tu seder?
CARLUCCIO: Ho dunque da stare in piedi? (Manco mal che non c'è nessuno.) Vedo, signore, che voi non mi conoscete...E vengo ad esibirmi per la vostra impresa, non per necessità o per interesse, ma per curiosità di vedere le Smirne.
ALI: Smirne non aver bisogno di tua persona. Se voler andar Turchia, io ti mandar Costantinopoli, serraglio de Gran Signore.
CARLUCCIO: A che far nel serraglio?
ALI: Custodir donne de Gran Sultan.
CARLUCCIO: Chi credete ch'io sia?
ALI: Non star eunucho? CARLUCCIO: Mi maraviglio di voi; non sono di questa razza villana. Sono un virtuoso di musica.
ALI: Star musico?
CARLUCCIO: Star musico.
ALI: Chi poder pensar, che Italia voler omo como tu, per cantar per donna? Turchia voler donna per donna.
CARLUCCIO: Io sono un soprano. La mia voce è argentina, ma recito e canto nelle parti da uomo.
ALI: Non star voce de omo. Io non star così bestia, a voler musico che cantar come gatto.
CARLUCCIO: I musici miei pari si stimano, si onorano dappertutto, e sono rari al mondo...
ALI: De tutte tue bravure non m'importar.

CARLUCCIO: Your servant. They have spoken to me about you, and I have come to see you for the pleasure of getting to know you.
ALI: Are you a man or a woman?
CARLUCCIO: I am a man, my lord. (If he is going to sit, I shall sit too.)
ALI: Who told you to sit?
CARLUCCIO: So I have to stand? (It's a good job no one is here.) I see, sir, that you do not know me...so I have come to offer my services for your undertaking, not out of necessity or self interest, but out of curiosity to see Smyrna.
ALI: Smyrna has no need of someone like you. If you want to go to Turkey, I will send you to Constantinople, to the serraglio of the Great Lord.
CARLUCCIO: What would I do in the serraglio?
ALI: Look after the wives of the Great Sultan.
CARLUCCIO: What do you take me for?
ALI: Aren't you a eunuch?
CARLUCCIO: I am surprised at you; I am not of that despicable tribe. I am a musical virtuoso.
ALI: You are a singer?
CARLUCCIO: I am a singer.
ALI: Who would have thought that Italy wants a man like you to sing as a woman? Turkey wants a woman to sing as a woman.
CARLUCCIO: I am a soprano. My voice is silvery, but I speak and sing the parts of a man.
ALI: It is not a man's voice. I am not so foolish to want a singer who sings like a cat.
CARLUCCIO: Singers like me are much esteemed and very rare, and everyone admires them..
ALI: All your capabilities do not matter to me.
Scena Terza
Scene Three
SERVITORE: Ho veduto una signora ascender le scale.
ALI: Star musica?
SERVITORE: Così credo.
ALI: Come star?
SERVITORE: Non vi è male.
ALI: Star sola?
SERVITORE: Parmi aver veduto, che ci sia con lei un certo Nibio.
ALI: Sì sì, Nibio star bravo.
SERVITORE: Eccola che viene.
CARLUCCIO: Signore, se voi volete..
ALI: Star giovine. Star bellina.
CARLUCCIO: Volete ascoltarmi, signore..
ALI: Andar diavolo.

SERVANT: I saw a lady climbing the steps.
ALI: Is she a singer?
SERVANT: I believe so.
ALI: What is she like?
SERVANT: Not bad.
ALI: Is she alone?
SERVANT: I think I saw with her a certain Nibio.
ALI: Yes, yes. Nibio is capable.
SERVANT: Here she comes.
CARLUCCIO: Sir, if you want..
ALI: She is young, she is beautiful.
CARLUCCIO: Do you wish to hear me, sir?
ALI: Go to the devil.
Scena Quarta
Scene Four
ANNINA: Serva sua divotissima.
NIBIO: Ecco, signor Alì, una brava virtuosa di musica.
ALI: Musica.
ANNINA: Sì, signor, per servirla.
ALI: Seder presso di me.
ANNINA: Con sua buona licenza.
CARLUCCIO: (Ella seduta, ed io in piedi? Non soffrirò quest'impertinenza.)
ALI: Dir tuo nome.
ANNINA: Annina, ai suoi comandi.
ALI: Tuo paese?
ANNINA: Bologna.
ALI: Piacer tanto tua grazia bolognese.
ANNINA: È tutta sua bontà.
ALI: Star brava, come star bella?
ANNINA: Non istà a me a dirlo. Ma il signor Nibio mi conosce, e sa s'io ho dell'abilità.
NIBIO: È una brava giovane, ve l'assicuro.
ALI: Se star brava e star bella, far tutti innamorar.
CARLUCCIO: Sì, la signora Annina ha del merito, e quando lo dico io..
ALI: Cosa intrar ti parlar?
CARLUCCIO: (Or ora mi vien voglia di prenderlo per i mostacci).
ALI: Quanto mi piacer tua maniera.
ANNINA: Effeto della sua gentilezza.
ALI: Quanto voler per tua paga?
ANNINA: (Se gli piaccio davvero, voglio farmi pagar bene.) Io sono una giovane discreta, ma se si tratta d'andar in un paese lontano, equel che è peggio, per mare, non ci verrò per meno di cinquecento zecchini.
CARLUCCIO: Oh, oh, cinquecento zecchini? Credete aver domandato molto? Io non ci vado per mille.
ALI: A tua persona io non dar trenta soldi. Bella Bolognese, tutto quel che voler.
CARLUCCIO: (Nibio, mi raccomando a voi. Questo Turco ignorante non consoce il merito. Ditegli voi chi sono; fate ch'egli mi prenda, fatemi dare una buona paga, e vi prometto di darvi il dodici per cento).
NIBIO: Signore, se voi volete formare una compagnia ad uso d'Italia, che piaccia agli Europei che sono alle Smirne, è necessario che prendiate un musico soprano, e vi parlo sinceramente, un soprano migliore di questo è difficile a ritrovare.
ALI: Se musico bisognar, tu trovar musico, trovar soprano, che non cantar come donna.
NIBIO: Scusatemi, quei musici che cantano con voce virile, si chiamano tenori, e sono quelli che fanno le parti da padri, da re, da tiranni; ma per la prima parte vi vuole un soprano, che faccia il primo amoroso, e che canti bene, principalmente le arie patetiche.
ALI: Io non voler patetico.
NIBIO: Ma questo è necessario.
ALI: Voler musica allegra.
NIBIO: Il soprano è indispensabile.
ALI: Maledetto soprano, maledetto tu ancora.
NIBIO: Che lo fermi, o che non lo fermi?
ALI: Sì, fermar tuo diavolo, tuo malanno. Bella cantarino, perdonar. Tenor, sopran, più non mi romper testa.
ANNINA: La prego, la non valda in collera, la non si rescaldi; mi preme la di lei salute.
ALI: Star buona, star buona, Bolognesina, star buona.
NIBIO: Dunque possiamo trattare.
CARLUCCIO: Quanto vorrebbe dare ad un musico della mia sorte?
ALI: Andar via.
NIBIO: Non voglio che spendiate mille zecchini, ma ottocento almeno.
ALI: Andar via.
CARLUCCIO: Ottocento zecchini non servono. Voglio mille zecchini ed il quartiere.
ALI: Andar via.
NIBIO: Orsù, accomoderò io la differenza. Cento più, cento meno..
ALI: Andar via, maledetto.
NIBIO: Tornerò con più comodo
CARLUCCIO: E voglio un appartamento comodo, e la carrozza, e il piccolo vestiario, e voglio quel libro che più mi piace, e voglio..
ALI: Se più voler, se più seccar, romper pipa.
CARLUCCIO: Signor impresario, la riverisco umilmente.

ANNINA: Your devoted servant.
NIBIO: Signor Ali, here is a capable singer.
ALI: A singer.
ANNINA: Yes sir, at your service.
ALI: Sit down next to me.
ANNINA: By your leave.
CARLUCCIO: (She gets to sit and I have to stand? I cannot suffer this impertinence.)
ALI: Say your name.
ANNINA: Annina, at your command.
ALI: Your town?
ANNINA: Bologna.
ALI: Your bolognese grace greatly pleases me.
ANNINA: You are too good.
ALI: Are you as capable as you are beautiful?
ANNINA: It is not for me to say so. But Signor Nibio knows me, and knows what capabilities I possess.
NIBIO: She is a capable young woman, I assure you.
ALI: If you are capable and you are beautiful, you will make everyone fall in love with you.
CARLUCCIO: Yes, Signora Annina has merit, and when I say..
ALI: What prompts you to speak?
CARLUCCIO: (Just now I am beginning to want to take him by the moustache..)
ALI: I like your ways so much.
ANNINA: It is the result of your kindness.
ALI: How much do you wish to be paid?
ANNINA: (If he likes me, I want to be well paid.) I am an undemanding young lady, but if it is a matter of going to a distant place, and what is worse, by sea, I could not do it for less than five hundred sequins.
CARLUCCIO: Oh, oh, you think you are asking for a lot? I would not go for a thousand.
ALI: To a person like you I wouldn't give thirty cents. Beautiful Bolognese, whatever you want.
CARLUCCIO: Nibio, I appeal to you. This ignorant Turk does not recognize talent. Tell him who I am. Get him to take me, make him give me a good pay, and I promise to give you twelve percent.
NIBIO: Sir, if you want to form a company in the Italian style, which the Europeans who are in Smyrna will like, you must take a soprano singer, and, I tell you sincerely, a soprano better than this one is hard to find.
ALI: If you need a singer, find a singer, find a soprano who does not sing like a woman.
NIBIO: Excuse me, these singers who sing with a masculine voice are called tenors, and are the ones who take the part of the fathers, the kings, the rulers; but for the role of the main lover, you need a soprano who sings well, especially sad arias.
ALI: I don't want "sad."
NIBIO: But it is necessary.
ALI: I want happy music.
NIBIO: A soprano is indispensible.
ALI: Damn the soprano, and damn you too.
NIBIO: Do I take him on or not?
ALI: Yes, take on your devil, take on your calamity. Dear lady singer, excuse me. Tenor, soprano, don't drive me crazy any more!
ANNINA: Please don't get angry, don't get excited. I am concerned about your health.
ALI: You are good, you are good, Bolognesina, you are good.
NIBIO: So we can bargain.
CARLUCCIO: How much will you give to a singer like me?
ALI: Away with you!
NIBIO: I don't want you to spend a thousand sequins, but it should be at least eight hundred.
ALI: Away with you!
CARLUCCIO: Eight hundred is not enough. I want a thousand sequins and lodging.
ALI: Away with you!
NIBIO: Well then, I'll make up the difference. A hundred more, a hundred less..
ALI: Away with you, damn you!
NIBIO: I'll come back at a more opportune time.
CARLUCCIO: And I want a comfortable apartment, and a carriage, and small clothing items, and I want a libretto that I like, and I want..
ALI: If you want anything else, and if you bother me further, I shall break my pipe on you.
CARLUCCIO: Signor Impresario, I pay you my humble respects.
Scena Quinta
Scene Five
ALI: Aver fatto in vita mia tanti negozi, non intender, non poder capir negozio per teatro. Se musici star tutti come musico che andar via, io non aver testa per poder star saldo. Ma se omo star insolente, femmina star bona. Mi aver tanto piacer de mia cara Annina.
ANNINA: Mi fa troppa finezza. Dica, signore, la mi perdoni, se ho l'onor di venir con lei, farò io la prima donna?
ALI: Prima donna? Sì, in mio cuor star prima, se ti voler.
ANNINA: Ma farò io la prima parte?
ALI: Cosa star prima parte?
ANNINA: Se nell'opera vi sono due donne, vi ha da essere la prima e la seconda, ed io le domando se farò la prima.
ALI: Prima star miglior de seconda?
ANNINA: Sicuramente.
ALI: Far tutto quello che ti voler.
ANNINA: Obbligatissima alle sue grazie. (Ho fatto bene a venir la prima, l'ho preso in impegno, e son sicura del primo posto.)
ALI: Mia carina, mia bellina, che star tanto bonina, dar a me tua bianca manina.
ANNINA: Oh, in questo poi, mi perdoni..
ALI: Perchè non voler dar tua manina? Tutto mondo avermi ditto, che virtuose star buone.
ANNINA: Le dirò, signore, vi sono di quelle che, prima che l'opera vada in scena, fanno le graziose, e sono facili coll'impresario per obbligarlo o a dar loro miglior paga, o a far loro un bell'abito, e poi, quando cominciano a recitare, danno un calcio all'impresario, e si attacano al musico o al ballarino. Io sono sempre stata modesta, ho sempre preferito l'impresario modestamente, e sarò sempre sua buona amica, salva l'onestà e la modestia.
ALI: Star Turco, e non intender troppo ste to parole.
ANNINA: Voglio dire..
ALI: Dar manina, e dir tutto quel che voler.

ALI: I have made in my life so many business transactions; I do not understand, I do not grasp transactions for the theater. If the singers are all like the male singer, away with them, I do not have the head to put up with it. But if the man is insolent, the woman is good. I like my dear Annina so much.
ANNINA: You are too kind. Tell me, sir, forgive me, if I have the honor to go with you, will I be the prima donna?
ALI: Prima donna? Yes, you are the prima donna of my heart, if you wish.
ANNINA: But will I sing the first part?
ALI: What is the "first part"?
ANNINA: If there are two women in a opera, there have to be a first and a second, and I would like to be the first.
ALI: Is the first better than the second?
ANNINA: Of course.
ALI: I'll do whatever you want.
ANNINA: I am obliged to your grace. (I did well to come first, I have his word, and am sure of the first spot.)
ALI: My dear, my beauty, who is so kind, give me your little white hand.
ANNINA: Oh, excuse me in that..
ALI: Why do you not want to give me your hand? Everyone told me that the singers are so good.
ANNINA: Let me tell you sir, before the opera is put on, there are some who make up to the impresario, and are easy with him, in order to get him to pay them more, or have a nice dress made for them, and then as soon as they begin to sing, they send the impresario packing, and attach themselves to the singer or the maître de ballet. I have always been modest, and have always modestly preferred the impresario, and will always be your good friend, in accordance with propriety and modesty.
ALI: I am a Turk, and do not understand your words too well.
ANNINA: I mean..
ALI: Give me your little hand, and you can say whatever you want.
Scena Sesta
Scene Six
SERVITORE: Signor..
ALI: Cosa tu voler?
SERVITORE: Un musico tenore..
ALI: Mandar via.
SERVITORE: Vi è una donna con lui.
ALI: Donna..donna..vegnir.
SERVITORE: (Oh, quando è in collera, la donna lo cangia subito).
ANNINA: (Ci gioco ch'è la Tognina).
ALI: Tua man non voler dar?
ANNINA: Basta, non voglio nemmeno ch'ella abbia a disgustarsi di me.

SERVANT: Sir..
ALI: What do you want?
SERVANT: A tenor singer..
ALI: Away with him!
SERVANT: There is a lady with him.
ALI: Lady..lady..let them come.
SERVANT: (Oh, when he is angry, a lady quickly calms him down.)
ANNINA: I bet it's Tognina.
ALI: You don't want to give me your hand?
ANNINA: Very well. I don't want you to be upset with me.
Scena Settima
Scene Seven
ALI: (Star pezza da sessanta).
TOGNINA: (Eccola qui; l'ho detto; è venuta prima di noi). Padrone mio riverito.
ALI: Tu qui star?
TOGNINA: Tognina, virtuosa di musica, per obbedirla.
PASQUALINO: Ed io, signore..
ALI: De ti non domandar. Tognina virtuosa, sentar qui presso di me.
TOGNINA: Grazie alla sua gentilezza.
ANNINA: (Mi dispiace che a Tognina abbia toccato la mano dritta, ma se reciteremo insieme, mi vendicherò).
TOGNINA: Signor Pasqualino, con licenza di questo signore, prendete una sedia, e sedetevi ancora voi.
ALI: Cosa voler tu qui?
PASQUALINO: Sono venuto con lei..
ALI: Cosa intrar con tua persona?
TOGNINA: Per non venir qui sola, mi ho fatto accompagnare da lui. Egli è un tenore bravissimo, che canta a perfezione, e che fa onor alla musica.
ALI: Sua figura non star cattiva. Se saper ben cantar, perchè tenor non poter far per soprano?
TOGNINA: E chi ha detto che non lo può fare?
ALI: Star Nibio, che per forza voler io prender maledetto sopran.
TOGNINA: Nibio non sa quel che si dica. Le giuro e le protesto, che un tenore di questa sorte è meglio di tutti i soprani del mondo.
ALI: (Nibio star furbo, star farabutto, voler me per suo interesse ingannar).
ANNINA: (L'amica vuol produrre il suo favorita).
ALI: Dir, tu quanto voler?
PASQUALINO: Signore, io non son difficile. Verrò se vi contentate, per quattrocento zecchini.
ALI: (Musico voler mille, tenor quattrocento, al diavolo mandar soprano). E tu quanto domandar?
TOGNINA: Tutto quel ch'ella vuole. So che vossignoria è un galantuomo. Mi piace la sua bell fisonomia, e per lei cantarei, come si suol dir, per niente.
ALI: Tognina star generosa; tuo discorso tanto obbligar, che de Ali tu non aver lamentar.
ANNINA: Se io ho domandato, signore, l'ho fatto per obbedirla, ma di me pure ella può far tutto quello che vuole.
ALI: Star furba Bolognesa. Cognoscer adesso, che Tognina aver fatto meglio non domandar.
TOGNINA: Per me ho parlato di cuore. È la prima volta che ho l'onor di vederlo, ma proprio ci ho della simpatia.
ANNINA: Anch'io propriamente, subito che l'ho veduto, mi è piaciuto.
ALI: Star furba Bolognesa. Star tutte due belline, tutte due graziosine. Prometter tutte due voler per mie virtuose.
TOGNINA: Io non sarò malcontenta di avere la signora Annina in mia compagnia, ma intendiamoci bene: io da prima, ella da seconda.
ANNINA: Signora mia, siete venuta un po' tardi. La parte di prima, il signor Ali l'ha promessa a me.
TOGNINA: L'ha promessa a lei?
ALI: Non saver cosa aver promesso.
ANNINA: Non si ricorda più, o finge non ricordarselo, che mi ha promesso ch'io farò la parte de prima donna?
ALI: Star prima, o star seconda, non star l'istesso?
TOGNINA: Signor no. O la prima parte, o niente.
PASQUALINO: (Maledetto puntiglio! si vuol precipitare, e vuol precipitare anche me).
ALI: Se paga l'istessa, cosa star vostra pretension?
ANNINA: Non m'importa della paga, m'importa dell'onore.
ALI: Dell'onor? Dir tu: seconda parte star parte da briccona?
PASQUALINO: No signore, anzi qualche volta la second parte è miglior della prima.
ALI: Dunque star prima, o star seconda, star indifferente.
ANNINA: O la prima, o niente.
TOGNINA: O prima, o la ringrazio.
ALI: Via, se ben mi voler..
TOGNINA: La mia riputazione.
ALI: Se aver stima per me..
ANNINA: Sono quella ch'io sono.
TOGNINA: Nemmeno per mille doppie.
ANNINA: Nè anche se mi facessero regina.
TOGNINA: Non lo farò mai certamente.
ALI: No? No? Ed io al diavolo tutte due mandar.

ALI: [observing Tognina] (She's a regular sixty-sequin piece.)
TOGNINA: (Here she is. I said it; she got here before us.) Respected sir!
ALI: Who are you?
TOGNINA: Tognina, musical virtuosa, at your service.
PASQUALINO: And I, sir..
ALI: I didn't ask you..Tognina, artiste, sit next to me. [She sits on his right, so he is sitting between the two women.]
TOGNINA: Thanks for your graciousness.
ANNINA: (I am angry that he put Tognina at his right, but if we sing together I shall get my own back.)
TOGNINA: Signor Pasqualino, with this gentleman's permission, take a seat and sit down yourself.
ALI: [to Pasqualino] What do you want here?
PASQUALINO: I came with her..
ALI: [to Tognina] What does he have to do with you?
TOGNINA: In order not to come alone, I got him to accompany me. He is a most capable tenor, who sings to perfection, and does honor to music.
ALI: His appearance is not bad. If he knows how to sing, why cannot a tenor do for a soprano?
TOGNINA: Who said that he couldn't?
ALI: Nibio, who perforce wants me to take a damned soprano.
TOGNINA: Nibio doesn't know what he is talking about. I swear to you and declare that a tenor like this is better than all the sopranos of the world.
ALI: (Nibio is a trickster, he's a rotter, he wants to cheat me in his own interest.)
ANNINA: (The girl friend wants to place her favorite.)
ALI: [to Pasqualino] Say how much you want.
PASQUALINO: Sir, I am not demanding. If it is well with you, I will take four hundred sequins.
ALI: (A singer wants a thousand, a tenor wants four hundred, to hell with the soprano.) [to Tognina] And how much do you ask of me?
TOGNINA: Whatever you want. I know that you are a fine man. Your handsome face pleases me, and I will sing for you, as they say, for nothing.
ALI: Tognina is generous; what you say obliges me so much, that you will have nothing to complain about from Ali.
ANNINA: If I asked for something, sir, I did it in order to obey you, but let me do whatever you want.
ALI: You are cunning, Bolognese. Now you know that Tognina did better by not asking.
TOGNINA: I spoke from the heart. It is the first time that I have the honor to see you, but I am very touched by you.
ANNINA: I too took to you as soon as I saw you.
ALI: You are cunning, Bolognese. You are both beauties, you are both attractive.I promise both of you that I want you as my singers.
TOGNINA: I have no objection to having signora Annina in my company, but understand me well: I shall be first, and she will be second.
ANNINA: Signora, you came a little late. Signor Ali has promised the first part to me.
TOGNINA: Did you promise it to her?
ALI: I don't know what I promised.
ANNINA: Don't you remember any more, or are you pretending not to remember, that you promised that I would sing the part of the prima donna?
ALI: Aren't the first part and the second part the same?
TOGNINA: No sir. Either the first part, or nothing.
PASQUALINO: (Damn this point of honor! She wants to do herself in, and me too.)
ALI: If the pay is the same, what is your problem?
ANNINA: The pay doesn't matter to me, honor matters.
ALI: Honor? [to Pasqualino] You tell me. Is the second part no good?
PASQUALINO: No sir, sometimes the second part is better than the first.
ALI: So whether it is first or second, it is all the same.
ANNINA: The first, or nothing.
TOGNINA: The first, or I am off.
ALI: [to Tognina] Well, if you want me..
TOGNINA: My reputation
ALI: [to Annina] If you respect me..
ANNINA: I am who I am.
TOGNINA: Not for a thousand doubloons.
ANNINA: Not if I were made queen.
TOGNINA: I would never do it.
ALI: No? No? So I send you both to hell!
Scena Ottava
Scene Eight
SERVITORE: Un'altra visita.
ALI: Star stufo.
SERVITORE: Un'altra donna.
ALI: Non voler più donne.
SERVITORE: Dirò dunque, che se ne vada.
ALI: Fermar..sentir..chi star?
SERVITORE: Credo sia un'altra virtuosa di musica.
ALI: Star sazio di musica. Donne più non soffrir..ascoltar..star bella?
SERVITORE: È graziosissima.
ALI: Ah!..far..far venir.
PASQUALINO: (Pensateci bene. Se un'altra si presenta, non vi tornerà il conto).
TOGNINA: (Lasciatemi fare. So il mio merito, e non ho paura).

SERVANT: Another visit.
ALI: I'm fed up.
SERVANT: It's another lady.
ALI: I don't want any more ladies.
SERVANT: Then I'll tell her to go away.
ALI: Wait..listen..who is she?
SERVANT: I believe she is another singer.
ALI: I've had enough of singers. I can't stand ladies any more..listen..is she beautiful?
SERVANT: She is very pretty.
ALI: Ah..let her..let her come in.
PASQUALINO: Consider well. If another woman presents herself, your situation will not change.
TOGNINA: Leave it to me. I know what I am worth, and am not afraid.
Scena Nona
Scene Nine
LUCREZIA: Serva umilissima del signor Ali. Perdoni l'ardire...Amo la mia professione, e venero e stimo quelle persone che possono e che cercano d'illustrarla.
TOGNINA: (Parla come un libro stampato.)
ANNINA: (Che signora compita!)
PASQUALINO: (Osservate come il Turco la guarda attentamente).
ALI: (Bella fisonomia! bel discorso!) Favorir di seder.
LUCREZIA: Se commanda così..
TOGNINA: Anch'io vuò seder.
ANNINA: Io non vo' star in piedi.
ALI: Donne, donne! Aver rispetto per donne.
PASQUALINO: Sedete qui, signore.
ALI: No, no, star avvezzo Turchia sentar sofà o cuscini. Star in piedi, e sopportar volentieri graziosa inciviltà di belleza.
LUCREZIA: Non è dovere, se il padrone sta in piedi, che facciasi con lui la conversazione sedendo...
TOGNINA: (Fa da vomitare con queste sue affettazioni).
ANNINA: (Dica pur quel che vuole, io sto ben dove sono).
ALI: Vostro nome?
LUCREZIA: Lucrezia per obbedirla.
ALI: Star musica?
LUCREZIA: Sì signor, per servirla.
ALI: Star profession medesima tutte queste persone.
LUCREZIA: Umilissima serva di queste signore...senza merito alcuno...
ALI: (Questa par non aver catarro de voler far prima donna).
LUCREZIA: ...Io che sono...del popolo inferiore, not potea meritarmi di essere preferita...
TOGNINA: (Sentite, ci corbella).
ANNINA: (Che cosa importa? Non le diamo il gusto di accorgerci della sua ironia.)...
ALI: (Molto me piacer sua modestia). Smirne voler venir?
LUCREZIA: Perchè no? Se io ne fossi degna, ci verrei volentieri.
ALI: Quanto voler per paga?
LUCREZIA: Di questo parleremo poi. Favorisca dirmi prima in qual grado dovrei venire.
ALI: Per musica venir.
LUCREZIA: Per musica, capisco. Ma, vi domando persono, se avete fermata qualch'altra virtuosa prima di me, bramo sapere qual parte mi sarà destinata.
ALI: Tu meritar la prima; ma donne non trovar, che voler far seconda. Tu che parlar con me tanto modesta, spero che seconda parte vorrà far tua persona.
LUCREZIA: ...Per me, non ho pretensioni...Che direbbe a la mia patria?...i miei parenti...o prima donna o niente...
PASQUALINO: Riverisco il signor Ali. Se ha bisogno di me..
ALI: Andar, lasciar, maledetto, non mi seccar...

LUCREZIA: The most humble servant of Signor Ali. Pardon my presumption..I love my profession, and I venerate and esteem those who are willing and able to exalt it!
TOGNINA: (She talks like a printed book.)
ANNINA: (What an accomplished woman!)
ALI: (A pretty face! Pretty speech!) Have the goodness to sit down.
LUCREZIA: Since you order me..
TOGNINA: I want to sit too.
ANNINA: And I can't remain standing.
ALI: Women, women, I respect women.
PASQUALINO: Sit down here, sir.
ALI: No, no, Turks are used to sitting on a couch or cushions. I shall remain standing, and willingly put up with the gracious impoliteness of beautiful women.
LUCREZIA: If the host is standing it is inappropriate to speak with him while sitting..
TOGNINA: (Her affectation is enough to make you vomit.)
ANNINA: (Let her say what she likes, I am fine here.)
ALI: [to Lucrezia] Your name?
LUCREZIA: Lucrezia, at your service.
ALI: Are you a singer?
LUCREZIA: Yes sir, at your service.
ALI: All these people have the same profession.
LUCREZIA: I am your humble servant..I am quite unworthy
ALI: (She doesn't seem to want to be a prima donna.)
LUCREZIA: ..I..who am of a lesser breed..do not merit to be preferred..
TOGNINA: (Do you hear? She is poking fun at us.)
ANNINA: It doesn't matter. Do not give her pleasure by paying attention to it.
ALI: (I like her modesty very much.) Do you want to come to Smyrna?
LUCREZIA: Why not? If you judge me worthy, I should be pleased to come.
ALI: How much do you wish to get paid?
LUCREZIA: Let's talk of that later. Please tell me first what part I would assume.
ALI: You would come as a singer.
LUCREZIA: Of course. But..if you have engaged other artists, I should like to know what role I would sing.
ALI: You merit the first role. But it is impossible to find singers who want the second role. I hope you would be willing to sing the second role.
LUCREZIA: ..As for me, I have no pretensions...but what shall I say to my country, my parents...either prima donna, or nothing.
PASQUALINO: My respects to Signor Ali. If you have need of me..
ALI: Go away, leave, damn you. Don't bother me.
Scena Decima
Scene Ten
NIBIO: Signore, son qui venuto..
ALI: Andar diavolo, tu ancor maledetto.
NIBIO: Che cosa avete con me?
ALI: Tu aver messo mia testa far opera Smirne. Aver scritto, aver ordinato per teatro; amici aspettar opera Smirne; Ali galantuomo, star impegno, voler far, voler spender, voler tutto far ben, e non trovar donna che voler far seconda.
NIBIO: Non è altro que questo? Non ci pensate; nov vi mettete in pena. Non c'è altra abbondanza al mondo che di donne di teatro; ne troveremo da seconda, da terza, e da ultima parte.
MACCARIO: Favorisca, signore, senta il consiglio di un uomo come son io; se trova delle difficoltà per le donne, faccia fare un libretto con una donna sola.
ALI: Qui star tu?
MACCARIO: Star poeta, signor.
ALI: Poeta que voler?...
NIBIO: ...Ho provveduto un poeta, perchè in un'impresa è necessario...
ALI: Che imbroglio star questo? Niente capir.

NIBIO: Sir, I have come here..
ALI: You too, go to the devil, damn you.
NIBIO: What do you have against me?
ALI: You put it into my head to put on an opera in Smyrna. I wrote, I hired a theater; my friends are expecting an opera in Smyrna. Ali is an honorable man, he is involved, he wants to act, he wants to spend, he wants to do everything well, and he cannot find a singer who is willing to sing the second role.
MACCARIO: Please sir, listen to the advice of someone like me. If there are difficulties with the women, prepare a libretto with only one female singer.
ALI: Who are you?
MACCARIO: I am a poet, sir.
ALI: What does the poet want?
NIBIO: I have provided a poet because it is necessary in an undertaking...
ALI: What kind of a predicament is this? I don't understand a thing.
Scena Undicesima
Scene Eleven
FABRIZIO: Mio Signore.
ALI: E quest'altro, chi star?
NIBIO: Quest'è un bravo pittore da teatro, il quale farà la scene, e condurrà con lui tutti i suoi scolari...
ALI: Quanta gente venir?
NIBIO: Ecco i pittori i lavoranti...
ALI: Condur Smirne tutta questa canaglia?
NIBIO: Tutte persone necessarie.
ALI: Mangiar impresa e impresario. Sensal maledetto. Tu voler Ali precipitar. Ma se mal risuscir, omo d'onor, tu far impalar.

FABRIZIO: Sir.
ALI: So who is this?
NIBIO: This is a capable theater painter. He makes the scenery, and he will bring all his students and workers...
ALI: How many people will come?
NIBIO: Here are the painters and workmen...
ALI: Do I have to take to Smyrna all this trash?
NIBIO: They are all indispensible.
ALI: They will consume the enterprise and the impresario. Damned agent! You want to ruin Ali! But if it fails, by my word, I shall crucify you!
ATTO QUARTO
ACT FOUR
Scena Quarta
Scene Four
CONTE LASCA: Venite, signor Ali.
ALI: Star fatto?
LASCA: Fatto niente. Ho piacer che siate anche voi presente al contratto...
ALI: Star tre donne?..
LASCA: Star zitto...
ALI: Se far tanto diavolo per prima e per seconda, cosa far per terza?
LASCA: Non ci pensate...
ALI: Conte, star tu patron.
LASCA: Ed io terminerò quest'affare...Chi non si contena, può andarsene...
ALI: Bravo, Conte. Star bravo. Per mi, non parlar...
LASCA: O tacere, o partire...
ALI: Non parlar con me. Conte star impresario, Conte star patron. Benedetto star Conte...Bravo Conte, star bravo...Bravo Conte, star bravo... Bravo, Conte, tu meritar far bassà, star visir...
LASCA: Dite voi, signor Ali, quando credete di dover partire?
ALI: Nave star alla vela. Domattina voler partir. Tutta compagnia venir casa mia, dommattina buon'ora. Portar tutta roba per imbarcar peota, e andar bordo aspettar buon vento.
LASCA: Voi avete capito. Egli vi aspetta domani di buon mattino. Favorisca, signora prima donna, venga ella a sottoscriver la prima.
TOGNINA: Povero signor Ali!...Se quella donna incontra, voglio perdere un occhio.
ALI: Non star brava?
TOGNINA: Che brava? È un'ignorantaccia, che non sa nè la musica, nè l'azione.
ANNINA: Sentirà, sentirà scommetto che sarà obbligato a mandarla via dopo quattro giorni.
ALI: Ma Conte no saver?
TOGNINA: Eh, il signor Conte la protegge, la mette in grazia, e corbella il signor impresario, perchè è di lei innamorato.
ANNINA: Si vede apertament; e per causa di questa passione ha fatto a noi nu'ingiustizia.
ALI: (Star possibile, che voler Conte tradir?)
LASCA: Questa è fatta. Venite, signore, se volete, a sottoscrivere anche voi.
TOGNINA: Io, se facessi da prima donna, io potre fare la sua fortuna.
ANNINA: Ella farebbe de' gran quattrini, se si fidasse di me.
LUCREZIA: Che cosa ha, signor Ali, che mi pare turbato?
ALI: Non saper, aver dubbio; non conoscer ben malizia italiana, ma dubitar, e quasi pentir, d'aver fatto quel che aver fatto.
LUCREZIA: Perch&egrav e;?
ALI: Perchè pagar per aver gente bona, e dubitar che musica Smirne deventar cattiva.
LUCREZIA: Se parla per quelle due cantarine, lo compatisco...
ALI: Star compagne di te.
LUCREZIA: Le domando perdono, sentirà alle Smirne il mio sapere e la mia bravura.
ALI: Mi non aver più testa.
LASCA: Ecco qui le scritture formate e sottoscritte.
ALI: Non saper cosa far, non voler scritture.
LASCA: Bene; le terrò, le unirò colle altre, e ve le porterò domattina...

CONTE LASCA: Come, Signor Ali.
ALI: Is it done?
LASCA: Nothing is done. I am delighted that you are present at the contract...
ALI: Are there three women?
LASCA: Be quiet...
ALI: If they make such a devil of a fuss over first and second, what will they make over third?
LASCA: Don't you worry...
ALI: Count, you be the boss.
LASCA: And I am going to finalize this matter...the one who doesn't like it can leave...
ALI: Bravo, count. You are capable...[to the women] Don't talk to me.
LASCA: Either be quiet or leave.
ALI: Don't talk to me. The count is the impresario. The count is the boss. Blessed is the Count! You are capable, count...you are capable, count...You are worthy to be a pasha, you are worthy to be a vizier!
LASCA: Say, Signor Ali, when do you think you must leave?
ALI: The ship is under sail. I want to leave tomorrow morning. The entire company should come to my house early tomorrow morning. Everyone should bring their things to go on board and wait for a favorable wind.
LASCA: Have you heard? He expects you tomorrow morning early...Madame Prima Donna, will you sign first?
TOGNINA: Poor Signor Ali...if you engage that woman, you are going to get a black eye...
ALI: Isn't she capable?
TOGNINA: Capable? She's an ignoramus who doesn't know how to sing or act.
ANNINA: You'll see, you'll see. After four days you'll have to send her packing.
ALI: But doesn't the count know?
TOGNINA: Oh, the Count protects her, ingratiates her and deceives you, Signor Impresario, because he is in love with her.
ANNINA: It's quite apparent that he has done us an injustice on account of this passion.
ALI: (Is it possible that the Count wants to betray me?)
LASCA: That one is done. Will the rest of you please sign?
TOGNINA: If I act as prima donna, I will make your fortune.
ANNINA: If you trust in me, you will make a lot of money.
LUCREZIA: What is the matter, Signor Ali, that you seem to me to be disturbed?
ALI: I don't know; I'm doubtful. I do not know well Italian malice, but I have doubts, and I almost regret what I have done.
LUCREZIA: Why?
ALI: Because I am paying to have good people, and I have doubts that the music in Smyrna may be bad.
LUCREZIA: If you are speaking of these two singers, I feel for you...
ALI: They are your companions!
LUCREZIA: Excuse me; at Smyrna you will see my knowledge and capability!
ALI: My head is busting!
LASCA: Here are the contracts, made out and signed.
ALI: I don't know what to do, I don't want contracts.
LASCA: Very well. I shall keep them, put them with the others, and bring them to you tomorrow morning...
Scena Quinta
Scene Five
CONTE LASCA: Signor Ali, sia detto a gloria mia, la vostra compagnia non istà male in donne, e le avete ad un prezzo..
ALI: Conte, io aver paura, che tu per bella donna me voler trappolar.
LASCA: Mi maraviglio di voi. Che maniera è la vostra? È questo il ringraziament di quel che ho fatto per voi?
ALI: Conte mio, compatir. Non saper.. Non aver più testa.
NIBIO: Signori, una buona nova. Ho fermato il primo musico per seicento zecchini, ed un secondo per duecento.
LASCA: Chi avete fermato per secondo?
NIBIO: Un certo Sgnarello..
LASCA: Quello sguiato? Signore, non lo prendete, che è una caricatura capace di metter l'opera in ridicolo.
NIBIO: Scusi, è forse migliore di Carluccio, ch'ella protegge.
ALI: Musici non voler.
NIBIO: La scrittura è firmata. Non vi è più remedio, ed ho fermato e scritturato due tenori.
ALI: Senza ch'io saper?
NIBIO: Ma se domani si parte, non si potea differire.
LASCA: In questo non ha tutto il torto.
NIBIO: Ed ho fermato tutti quegli operai ch'ell ha veduto nella sua camera.
ALI: In tutti quanti star?
NIBIO: Ho fatto il conto, che saremo in tutti settanta persone.
ALI: Scialamanacabala!
NIBIO: E tutti, pria di partire, domandano quattrini a conto.
ALI: Quanto voler?
NIBIO: Almeno, in tutti, cinquecento zecchini.
ALI: Dar cinquecento diavoli, che portar tua malora...

CONTE LASCA: Signor Ali, let it be said to my credit, your company is not bad in respect of women, and you have them at a price..
ALI: Count, I am afraid that you want to take me for a ride with a pretty woman.
LASCA: I'm surprised at you. What kind of behavior is this? Is this the gratitude I get for what I have done for you?
ALI: Count, forgive me. I don't know..My head is busting.
NIBIO: [enters] Gentlemen, good news. I have cut a deal with a first male singer for six hundred sequins, and with a second for two hundred.
LASCA: Whom have you engaged for second?
NIBIO: A certain Sganarello..
LASCA: That coarse fellow? [to Ali] Do not take him, Signor, he is a caricature of a singer who will hold up the opera to ridicule.
NIBIO: Pardon me, he is a sight better than Carluccio, who is your protégé.
ALI: I don't want male singers.
NIBIO:The contract is signed, and you have no way out. And I have engaged two tenors.
ALI: Without me knowing?
NIBIO: If you're leaving tomorrow, you cannot put it off any longer.
LASCA: In that he has a point.
NIBIO: And I have engaged all the workmen whom you met in your room.
ALI: How many in all?
NIBIO: I have made the reckoning. There are seventy people in total.
ALI: Scialamanacabala!
NIBIO: And all of them want something on account before they leave.
ALI: How much do they want?
NIBIO: In total, at least five hundred sequins.
ALI: I'll give five hundred devils to take the curse that you are...
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Kabyles and Khroumires

Introduction

Mikail Parkvall offers us a brief but telling interchange from the book by Charles Farine, Kabyles et Kroumirs Paris: P. Ducrocq (1882) p. 402.

The Kabyles are a Berber people whose traditional homeland is the highlands of Kabylia in northeastern Algeria. They have a reputation for being hardy and warlike. The Khroumires hail from Khroumiria, a mountainous region with extensive forests of cork oak in northwestern Tunisia. Tizi Ouzou, mentioned in this text, lies 100km east of Algiers. Tizi Ouzou is located in the valley of Wadi Sébaou.

The author records a discussion between the French General Pierre Hippolyte Publius Renault and a representative of the Algerian native sharpshooters who were employed by the French. Renault died in 1870 from the wounds of battle. Streets are named after him in the eleventh arrondissement of Paris, and in the city of Tours. The text displays his negotiating skills, and control of Lingua Franca.

The word barout is a corruption of the French word "poudre" meaning "gunpowder". Arabic does not possess the voiceless labial stop p and routinely voices it in loanwords. makach is from the local Arabic rendition of ma ka "nothing". ka is the presentational particle of Maghrebi Arabic. ŝay' meaning "thing" is appended to complete the negative ma…ŝ. besef is already glossed in Schuchardt.

The Text

J'ai aussi parlé de la route militaire qui relie le fort National à Tizzi-Ouzzou, tracée en suivant la vallée de Sébaou. Tous les corps participèrent à ce travail. On raconte que les turcos, tirailleurs indigènes, se plaignaient de travailler aux tranchées et se trouvaient humiliés. L'un d'eux aborda le général Renault, avec cette familiarité particulière aux Arabes: "Mon général", dit-il en langue sabir, "trabajar barout bono, trabajar terra makach! travailler la poudre, c'est bien; travailler la terre, non". Le général sourit, et, caressant la joue du turco d'une tape amicale, il lui dit, dans le même langage: "Faisons la route d'abord, et après nous travaillerons la poudre beaucoup (trabajar barout besef)" Le turco, satisfait, retourna au travail.

The Translation

I have spoken also of the army road which links the National Fort to Tizzi-Ouzzou which was marked out by following the valley of Sébaou. All the corps participated in this work. It is told that the indigenous Turkish sharpshooters complained of working in the trenches, and felt humiliated. One of them accosted General Renault, with that familarity typical of Arabs: "General", he said in the Sabir language, "trabajar barout bono, trabajar terra makach!" "working the gunpowder [i.e. shooting] is good, working the ground is not!" The general patted the Turk's cheek with a friendly slap, and said to him in the same language: "Let's work the road first, and afterwards we will work a lot of gunpowder" (trabajar barout besef). The Turk was satisfied, and went back to work.

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The Slave and Don Pedre

Source: Act One, Scene Nine of Le Sicilien by Molière (1667)
Chiribirida ouch alla
Star bon Turca,
Non aver danara:
Ti voler comprara?
Mi servir a ti,
Se pagar per mi;
Far bona cucina,
Mi levar matina,
Far boller caldara;
Parlara, Parlara,
Ti voler comprara?

Chiribirida, would it might be so!
I am a good Turk (Muslim),
I have no money:
Would you purchase me?
I will serve you,
If you buy me;
I will do good cooking,
I shall start early,
To light up the oven;
Say, say,
Will you purchase me?
Don Pedre answers:
Chiribirida ouch alla,
Mi ti non comprara,
Ma ti bastonara,
Si ti non andara;
Andara, andara,
O ti bastonara.

Chiribirida, would it might be so!
I shall not buy you,
But will beat you up,
Unless you go away;
Go, go,
Or I shall beat you up.

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Monologues

This selection of brief but telling monologues, apparently from Algiers, c. 1610 is taken from Fray Diego de Haedo's Topographia e historia general de Argel (1612) (Topography and general history of Algiers) and are also cited in Schuchardt's 1909 essay The Lingua Franca, and in Pierre Perego, Encyclopédie de la Pléiade – le langage s.v. Les Sabirs. I give the reference to folio with recto and verso from the original edition of Haedo, as cited in Glenn Gilbert's translation of Schuchardt, as well as the page reference, when I could locate it, in the 1927-29 reprint of Haedo's book – which is not a facsimile. There are some discrepancies between the transcriptions in Schuchardt apud Gilbert, and the reprint I used, but I do not deem them of great significance. Schuchardt used the copy in the Graz University Library; I have consulted the reprint in the library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and I follow the text there. Haedo is at pains to point out the sad life of Christian slaves in North Africa; his work is largely a martyrology. The punctuation of the LF texts is strange, probably because the printer did not understand the language well. Mr. Yann Vincent of Tokyo kindly provided Perego's translation of two texts, which differs a little from my translation. The LF could be rendered as second or third person.

The Master to a Malingering Slave.

[The master "cures" a slave by binding his hands and throwing him into a fire. Haedo introduces this passage thus:

…hecha una gran hoguera de leña, atadas las manos, le echan dentro de aquel fuego, y por ser éste un espectáculo tan horrible y espantoso, es forzado que el pobre cristiano, viéndose echar en el fuego, salte luego y huya por no morir, y viendo esto los inhumanos y crueles bárbaros, dan le voces, y como burlando le dicen: (…a large bonfire of firewood is made, the hands [of the slave] are bound, and they throw him into that fire. Since this is such a horrible and dreadful spectacle, it is inevitable that the poor Christian, seeing himself thrown into the fire, immediately jumps out, and runs away so as not to die. When the inhumane and cruel barbarians see this, they address him and say to him as if poking fun:)]

Lingua FrancaFrench (Perego)English (Corré)
así, así, hora estar bueno, mira cane cómo hacer malato. (fol. 120v, vol. 1, p. 105) Acosi, acosi, mirar cómo mi estar barbero bono, y saber curar, si estar malato, y ahora correr bono. Si cane dezir doler cabeza, tener febre no poder trabajar, a Fé de Dio abrusar vivo; trabajar, no parlar que estar malato. (fol. 120v, vol. 1, p. 106) Chien, voilà comme tu fais le malade! Tu vas voir quel bon médecin je suis, et comment je sais soigner si tu es malade, et tu courras bien. Chien, si tu dis que tu as mal à la tête, que tu as de la fièvre, que tu ne peux pas travailler et que tu ne sais pas comment te soigner, par la Foi en Dieu je te brûlerai vif. Travaille et ne dis pas que tu es malade. So, so, now you will be well, see how this dog pretends to be sick! See what a good physician I am, and I know how to heal you if you are sick, and you will run well. If this dog wants to have a headache, and have a fever, and not be able to work and does not know how to get cured, by the faith of God I'll burn you alive. Work, don't say that you are sick!

The Master comforts a homesick Slave.

[Dio grande without a copula is a rendering of Arabic Allah akbar "God is great." The s of dios is lost, as in Judeo-Sp., probably to avoid the appearance of plurality. Words of religious import tend to classicize in many languages, hence the survival of the nominative in dios, Pt. deus. Compare also the curious plural in the greeting buenos días which probably represents the hypercorrect use of the nominative in Latin dies. Cf. Pt. Bom dia and Cono Sur buen día. The plurals in Spanish for other times of day (tardes, noches) would then be by analogy to días.]
Non pillar fantasia. Dio grande. Mundo cosi, cosi, si venir ventura, andar a casa tuya. (fol. 128r vol. 2 p. 130) Si estar escripto en [t]esta forar, forar. Dio grande, sentar no piglliar fantasia. Anchora no estar tempo de parlar questa cosa. (fol. 129v) [Here one Amud speaks. He is the son of Christian parents who have converted to Islam.] Dio grande no pigllar fantesia. Mundo cosi cosi. Si estar scripto in testa andar, andar. Si no, aca morir. (fol. 192r vol.3 p.193) Don't be stubborn. God is great. The world is such, if you have luck, you will go home … If it's written on your forehead for you to leave, you will leave. God is great, don't be stubborn. Now is not the time to speak of such a thing … God is great, don't be stubborn. The world is such. If it's written on your forehead for you to go, you will go. If not, you will die here.

Insults while beating a Slave.

Cane. Perro. Iudio. Cornudo. Dog. Hound. Jew. Cuckold.

A similar set of epithets is found also in vol. 3, pp. 85, 147 and 177. Haedo says that a slave declares that he was forced to convert to Islam, but wishes to die a Christian. He continues:

A esas palabras respondieron los moros y turcos con decirle infinitas injurias como ellos acostumbran, llamándole perro, cane, judío, cornudo, y otros semejantes. (The Moors and Turks reply to these words by uttering numerous insults as they are accustomed to do, calling him hound, dog, Jew, cuckold, and similar epithets.)
On the pejorative use of "Jew" see my additional note.

A Christian is chastised for bringing home an unclean creature.

[tener is probably "there is" cf. Sp. hay, Pt. há, tem. Reflexes of tenere tend to replace habere in the peninsula, even, in Portuguese, as an auxiliary verb. But it could also be "you have".]

Lingua FrancaFrench (Perego)English (Corré)
Veccio, veccio, niçarane Christiano, ven aca, porque tener aqui tortuga? Qui portato de campaña? Gran vellaco estar qui ha portato. Anda presto, piglia, porta fora, guarda diablo, portar a la campaña, questo si tener en casa estar grande pecato. Mira no trovar altra volta, sino a fee de Dio, mi parlar patron donar bona bastonada, mumucho, mucho. (fol. 201v) Vieux, vieux, chrétien, viens ici, pourquoi as-tu une tortue ? Qui l'a apportée de la campagne ? C'est un grand scélérat, celui qui l'a apportée. Va vite, prends-la, emporte-la dehors, quel démon! Va la porter a la campagne. C'est un grand péché que d'avoir cela à la maison. Gare que je ne la trouve pas de nouveau, sinon, par la foi de Dieu, je dirai au maître de te donner des coups de bâton, beaucoup, beaucoup. Come here you old Christian, why is there a turtle here? Who brought it in from the field? The one who brought it is a big villain. Go quickly, take it and throw it outside, may the devil keep you, take it to the field. If this is in the house it is a big sin. See that I don't find it another time, otherwise, by the faith of God, I shall speak to the boss to give you a good beating, very, very much.

The following discrete sentences in Lingua Franca, addressed by a Muslim to a Christian, are quoted by Schuchardt from Johan von Rehbinder's Nachrichten und Bermerkungen über den algerischen Staat, (Altona, 1798-1800).

Si e vero que star inferno, securo papasos de vos autros non poter chappar de venir d'entro.

Nous autros contchar festa ista sera.

Salute! Come star? Come va? Come passar tempo? Va bono?

Guarda per ti, et non andar mirar mugeros de los Moros; nous autros pillar multo phantasia de questo conto.

Non venir encora il journo di Sancto di vos autros?

If it is true that there is a hell, for sure your priests will not be able to avoid going there.                 
_  

We are celebrating a holiday this evening.

Hi! How are you? (bis) What are you up to? Things going well?       
_  

Be careful, and do not go to look at the wives of the Moors. We are very particular on account of that matter.

Hasn't your holy day come yet?

With the two enquiries after health compare Spanish como está and Portuguese como vai.

Dialogues

These dialogues are taken from Dictionnaire de la Langue Franque ou Petit Mauresque, suivi de quelques dialogues familiers– (Marseilles, 1830). I have modified the imitated pronunciation meant to help speakers of French so that the text is closer to the languages from which it is derived. The numeration and titles of the dialogues are taken from the original. In the second dialogue, I give both the original French-style imitated pronounciation, and my modified version. Note that in the original the acute accent does not indicate stress, it simply means that the vowel is to be pronounced.
Lingua FrancaEnglish Translation
No. 1 To Affirm or Deny
questo star vero.
questo non star vero.
questo star troppo vero.
mi dubitar di questo.
non tenir dubio.
cosa volir scometir?
mi scometir qualche cosa.
mi scometir cosa ti querir.
ti credir per mi, mi pudir assicurar per ti.
star acusi.
mi pensar si.
mi pensar no.
mi ablar si.
mi ablar no.
per la palabra de mi.
mi ablar giusto.
mi credir per ti.
mi non credir una palabra.
mi non pudir credir.
questo star falso.
This is true.
This is not true.
This is too true.
I doubt it.
There is no doubt.
What do you want to bet?
I would bet something.
I would bet what you want.
Believe me, I can assure you.
It is so.
I believe so.
I believe not.
I say so.
I say not.
Upon my word.
I speak the truth.
I believe you.
I don't believe a word of it.
I cannot believe it.
This is false.
Original TranscriptionModified TranscriptionEnglish Translation
No. 2
To Thank and Compliment
bon dgiorno Signor.
commé ti star?
mi star bonou, é ti.
mi star contento mirar per ti.
gratzia.
mi poudir servir per ti per qoualké cosa?
mouchou gratzia.
ti dar una cadiera al Signor.
non bisogna.
mi star bene acoussi.
commé star il fratello di ti?
star mouchou bonou.
star in casa?
no, star fora
E il padré de ti commé star?
non star bouonou.
cosa tenir.
tenir febra.
dispiacher mouchou per mi.
molto tempo ti non mirato Signor M.?
mi mirato iéri.
star bouona genti.
quando ti mirar per ellou, saloutar moucho per la parté de me.
Adios amigo.
bon giorno Signor.
come ti star?
mi star bonu, e ti?
mi star contento mirar per ti.
grazia.
mi pudir servir per ti per qualche cosa?
muchu grazia.
ti dar una cadiera al Signor.
non bisogna.
mi star bene acusi.
come star il fratello di ti?
star muchu bonu.
star in casa?
no, star forà.
e il padre de ti comme star?
non star buonu.
cosa tenir?
tenir febra.
dispiacer muchu per mi.
molto tempo ti non mirato Signor M.?
mi mirato ieri.
star buona genti.
quando ti mirar per ellu, salutar mucho per la parte di mi.
adios amigo.
Good day, sir.
How are you?
I am well. And you?
I am happy to see you.
Thank you.
Can I serve you something?
No, thank you very much.
Give a chair to the gentleman.
It is not necessary.
I am fine like this.
How is your brother?
He is very well.
Is he at home?
No, he is away.
And how is your father?
He is not well.
What is the matter?
He has a fever.
That upsets me very much.
Is it a long time since you saw Mr. M.?
I saw him yesterday.
He is a good person.
When you see him, give him warm greetings from me.
Goodbye, friend.
Lingua FrancaEnglish Translation
No. 3 To Consult
cosa cunciar?
cosa bisogno cunciar?
que pensar?
cosa ti querir cunciar?
bisogno cunciar acusi.
mi pensar star meio.
se mi star al logo de ti, mi cunciar or fazir.
que servir tutto questo?
ti lasciar cunciar per mi.
What are we doing?
What should we do?
What do you think?
What do you want to do?
Let's do it in this way.
I think it would be better.
If I were in your place, I would–
What's the good of all that?
Let me do it.
No. 4 To Go and Come
qui star aqui?
intrar.
unde ti venir?
mi venir della casa di mi.
ove ti andar?
mi andar spassegiar.
mi andar mirar un amigo.
mi andar in casa del Signor M.
ti querir mi andar con ti?
si, andar sieme sieme.
ti venir aqui?
ti muntar, ti basciar.
andar fora.
andar fora di casa.
fazir or cunciar presto.
tornar subito.
andar poco poco.
mi tenir premura.
ti sentar or sedir.
spettar un poco.
aprir la bentana.
serrar la porta.
Who is there?
Come in.
Where are you coming from?
I am coming from home.
Where are you going?
I am going for a walk.
I am going to see a friend.
I am going to Mr. M.'s.
Do you want me to go with you?
Yes, let's go together.
Are you coming here?
Go up, go down.
Go away.
Go away from the house.
Hurry up.
Come back right away.
Go slow.
I am in a hurry.
Sit down.
Wait a little.
Open the window.
Close the door.
No. 5 To Hear, to Understand and to Know.
sentir.
sentir per mi?
capir?
mi sentir bonu.
mi capir un poco per ti.
cosa ti ablar?
responder per mi.
qui star questo signor que poco poco ablar per ti.
ti conoscir per ellu?
mi sentito ablar de ellu.
mi mirato in casa di ti.
ove sentar?
in strada grandi.
di que paise star?
star francis, inglis, esbagniol, portugues, nabolitan, toscan, nemsa, moskovit, american, danes, suedes, flamin.
muchu tempu di conoscir per ellu?
tenir poco tempo.
mi tenir piacer conoscir per ellu.
bisogno andar mirar per ellu sieme sieme.
quando piacer per ti.
bisogno andar domani.
Listen.
Do you hear me?
Do you understand?
I hear well.
I understand you a little.
What do you say?
Answer me.
Who is this gentleman who spoke to you a little?
Do you know him?
I have heard people speak about him.
I have seen him at your house.
Where does he live?
In Main Street.
From what country is he?
He is French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Neopolitan, Tuscan, German, Russian, American, Danish, Swedish, Flemish.
Have you known him a long time?
Just a short time.
I should like to get to know him.
We shall go to see him together.
Whenever you please.
We shall go tomorrow.
No. 6 Concerning Breakfast
ti fatto colazione?
non, Signor.
ti venir giusto, la mangiaria star pronta.
mi venuto aposto per far mangiaria con ti.
bonu. que ti querir mangiar?
quello que ti querir.
ti querir caffè?
portar caffè.
fazir scaldar agua; mi querir cunciar tè.
non cunciar per mi, il caffè basta.
mi tenir tè mucho bonu; mi querir ti gustar per ellu.
muchu grazia.
ti metir un poco piu sucro.
mi tenir bastanza.
Have you had breakfast?
No, sir.
You came just in time. The food is ready.
I came on purpose to have breakfast with you.
Good, what would you like to eat?
Whatever you want.
Do you want coffee?
Bring coffee.
Heat some water. I want to make tea.
Don't make it for me. Coffee is enough.
I have very good tea. I want you to taste it.
Thank you very much.
Put a little more sugar.
I have enough.
No. 7 Concerning Time and Weather
que ora star?
que ora ti pensar star?
mi pensar non star tre ora.
poco poco star quatr' ora.
non star tardi.
mirar que ora star al orlogio di ti.
non andar bonu.
andar avanti, andar indietro.
come star il tempo?
il tempo star bello.
il tempo star cativo.
fazir caldo.
fazir fredo.
fazir vento.
cascar agua.
fazir caldo mucho.
What time is it?
What time do you think it is?
I think it is not three o'clock.
It will soon be four o'clock.
It is not late.
See what time it is on your watch.
It is not going (working) well.
It is fast, it is slow.
How is the weather?
The weather is fine.
The weather is poor.
It is hot.
It is cold.
It is windy.
It is raining
It is very hot.
No. 8 To Ask what is New
que nuova?
mi non sentito nada.
que hablar in città?
genti hablar tenir guerra.
guerra, con que nazion?
con Francis.
que pudir cunciar il Francis contra di Algieri?
per mare nada, ma per terra il Francis star muchu forti.
se il Francis sbarcar, Algieri star perso.
mi pensar l'Algerino non combatir.
dunque bisogno il Bacha querir pace.
si, se non querir morir.
se querir pace l'Yoldach fazir gribuila.
perche non cunciar pace?
perche il Bacha tenir fantezia.
What's new?
I have not heard anything.
What are they saying in town?
People are saying that there will be war.
War, with what country?
With the French.
What can the French do against Algiers?
Nothing by sea, but by land the French are very strong.
If the French land, Algiers is lost.
I think that the Algerians will not fight.
So the Pasha will want peace.
Yes, if he doesn't want to die.
If he wants peace, the Janissaries will make a fuss.
Why not make peace?
Because the Pasha wants it that way.

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Six Weeks in Africa

Introduction

Mr. Mikael Parkvall of Stockholm University has kindly sent me an interesting abstract from a book by Charles Thierry-Mieg Six semaines en Afrique [Six Weeks in Africa] Paris: J. Claye (1861) pp. 103–107 which deals in some detail with Lingua Franca. With his permission, I reproduce here the pages as he sent them to me, and I have translated into English the section which deals directly with Lingua Franca. You can see the French original text in Acrobat format, Acrobat Reader required. Use the back feature of your browser to return here, if you look at this facsimile of the book.

The author is a keen and intelligent observer, and he was prescient in his suggestion that French would ultimately sound the death knell of Lingua Franca. However, some comments are needed on what he has to say. I have retained his French-style transcription in which “ou” represents [u] and “ch” represents the same sound as [$], which I use for the English digraph “sh”. His final "e" is not meant to be pronounced, as in French, and he will occasionally combine this with the grave accent to conform to French orthography, as in kifèche. The preponderance of Arabic words in Lingua Franca as he heard it is doubtless due to local conditions, and he himself points out the variance In Lingua Franca from place to place. The name Sabir, which he uses for the variant he writes about, is doubtless derived from the initial inquiry: Sabir Franca? “Do you know Lingua Franca?” with which a conversation between two speakers who did not previously know each other would begin. Thierry-Mieg is right that Sabir ultimately goes back to Latin sapere, but it was taken into Lingua Franca from the common Romance base, Sp. saber, Ital. sapere, etc. The same applies to his assignment of some words to Latin; it may well be that some old words in Lingua Franca were derived from late Latin at the time when the variants of Latin which developed into the Romance language family were still regarded as a corruption of Latin, and Latin for the most part served as the written language of polite and scholarly discourse. A parallel situation still exists with Arabic, where local dialects vastly different from standard Arabic remain unwritten. It would seem that this situation trades the strength and creativity of local languages for the fiction of a unified language area, and accounts in part for the diminutive book production of the Arab world, along with the strict censorship which obtains.

Thierry-Mieg's representation of Arabic kh with the addition of an “r” is probably due to his hearing something akin to his own Parisian [r] which has a similar point of articulation, rather than a reflection of the actual sound.

Thierry-Mieg's assertion that two words he observed come from German is highly unlikely. fouchta, which he derives from Ger. Festtag, “feast-day” is probably simply a variant of festa as in Italian with cognates in other Romance languages (fiesta, fête, etc.) Italian dictionaries render abiti da festa into English as “Sunday clothes” or “Sunday best.” frichti, which he renders “breakfast” and connects with Ger. Frühstück, is more likely ultimately from Lat. fructi “fruits” (cf. Ital. frutti where the double t indicates the assimilation) with affrication of the k sound. Thierry-Mieg would probably not notice the distinction between [$] and [t$], as the [t$] sound disappeared long ago in French, being replaced by [$]. In any case we can be grateful for Thierry-Mieg's observations at a time when Lingua Franca was already beginning to weaken.

ADC

The Text

Six Semaines en Afrique From: Charles Thierry-Mieg, Six semaines en Afrique [Six Weeks in Africa] Paris: J. Claye (1861) pp. 103–107.

We had arrived at the point of communicating pretty well, having recourse to gestures when words did not suffice, and we began to understand one another quite well. I always admired how two men who did not speak the same language could arrive at mutual comprehension. What is stranger however, is that in daily commercial intercourse a third language takes shape little by little, which is composed of words taken randomly from the two original languages. So what occurs between one man and another is repeated on a bigger scale when it is a question of entire peoples.

On the entire Mediterranean coast, the frequent contacts which have existed since antiquity between the Christian and Muslim peoples, and above all since the crusades, have ended up by creating such a language, which has as its basis one half Latin and one half Arab, and is generally known by the name langue franque [Lingua Franca.] In Algeria this language takes on certain special characteristics due to local conditions, and takes the name langue sabir, derived from one the most important and commonly used words, the verb sabir, in which the Latin verb sapere can be recognized, and means to know, to understand, to think, to believe, etc.

The Sabir language, as it is spoken today in Algeria, is about one half Arabic, one quarter words which are French more or less, and the rest are words borrowed from Italian, Spanish or directly from Latin, often changed in form. Obviously such a language cannot be rich. Since it serves only for certain commercial transactions, or contacts between travelers and natives, there are only a small number of words, all related to these two types of issues. In order to make up for this poverty of the language, in general every word takes on similar meanings, and serves to express even quite different nuances of the same idea.

Here are a number of examples, chosen from those which occur most frequently.

 
ARABIC ROOTS
Beseff–many Kadèche–how many
Barka–enough Ache or Eche–what
Fissa–quickly Balek–look out
Chouya–gently, slowly, stop Esbeur–wait
Selam–peace, goodbye  
Kifkif–as, equally, also Ala–upon
Selam alek–peace upon you [familiar and singular]  
Hé–yes Selam alekoum–peace upon you [respectful and plural]
Makach–no,not  
Ouaïn–where El ioum–today
Meneh–here, there Rhedoua–tomorrow
Meleh–good, well El Kabaïl–Kabyle
Kifèche–how? El Arabi, el Arbi–Arabic
Djezaïr–Algiers Halouf–pig
Ksentina–Constantine Essa–hour
Bariz–Paris Kadeche essa–what time is it?
Boudjaia–candle  
Andekchi–do you have? Requad–go to bed, sleep
Ouled–child  
Ya ouled–listen, child; used to call Arabs Cahoua–coffee
  Cahouadji–coffee-house keeper
  Cherob–to drink
Ben, pl. beni–son Doukhran–tobacco
Baba–father Helib–milk
Maboul–mad Khrobs–bread
El trek–the road Toubib–physician
Chouf el trek–see the road, this is the road Kebir–big
  Ana–I, me
Oued–river Enta–you
Kantara–bridge Ouahed–one
Bab–door Zoudj, etnin–two
Cherab–wine Tlata–three
Hammam–bath Arba–four
Aoud–horse Khramsa–five
Saïd–lion Saïda–lioness
Keleb–dog Tsamenia–eight
Keleb ben keleb–dog son of a dog Tessaa–nine
  Aachera–ten



Caldo–hot.
LATIN ROOTS
French Dis donc–used by the Arabs to call the French.
El Francis–French.
Mulet–mule
Cheval–horse.
Tomber–go down.
Zallamette–match, fire, light
Babour–steam, steam-engine, steam-boat, train
Samisami–friend
Spanish. Muchacho–child.
Mujer–(pron. muher with the h aspirated)–woman, wife.
Borrico–mule, ass.
Crossar (Sp. cruzar)–to cross.
Tocar–to strike, to shoot (with a firearm.)
El agua–water.
Douro–five francs, crown.
Italian. Andar–to go.
Mangiar–to eat.
Casa–cottage, house.
Carta–paper.
Morto–tired.
Carrozzo–carriage, stage-coach.
Mercanti–merchant, private person (as opposed to military.)
Latin. Sourdi–pennies.
Roumi–Roman, Christian.
Bibir–to drink.
Chanti (ascendere)–to go up.
Bono–good, well.

It is unneccesary to add that Sabir varies with local conditions. Where there are Spanish colonists in large numbers, their language plays a more important role than usual. The same thing applies to Italian. Even the Germanic element has made its contribution to this hotch-potch of languages where there are many Germans. In this way, in certain places, and probably under the influence of the Foreign Legion, Sunday has ended up being called fouchta (derived from festtag, feast-day), and food is designated by the name of frichti (frühstück, breakfast). We can say, moreover, that French is gaining more and more, both among the Arabs and Kabyles, and the foreign colonizers; it is possible to envisage the time when our language will be understood and spoken over the whole territory. The schools are actually numerous and well-attended, and connections between the populations are growing.

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Colonial France Illustrated

Introduction

In addition to a passage from the travel book by Thierry-Miegs, also offered here, Mr. Parkvall contributes the following table of Lingua Franca words which he found in Alexis Gochet, La France coloniale illustrée [Colonial France Illustrated] Tours: A. Mame et fils (1888) pp. 74–75. The first and second columns contain Gochet's list and his translation. The third column contains my translation from French of his glosses. These words have been incorporated into the main glossary, and the reader should not have too much trouble in locating them there. Observe that his ou represents [u], and he uses tch for the affricate which does not exist in French. Gochet does not get yaouled quite right. ya is a particle indicating the vocative: Oh child! I am unclear as to the origin of chèndat. Suggestions will be appreciated.

andar aller go
vinir venir come
ténir avoir have
mirar voir, regarder see, look
trabadjar travailler work
tchapar voler steal
toucar toucher, prendre touch, take
bono bon, bien, utile good, well, useful
caraouti trompeur, carottier cheat
meskine pauvre poor
maboul fou mad
mercanti bourgeois bougeois
chèndat soldat soldier
casa maison house
carossa voiture cart
cabessas tête head
matrac bâton stick
babor bateau à vapeur steamboat
birou bureau office
carta lettre, écrit; papier letter, writing, paper
douro argent money
sordi sou small coin
mouquère femme woman, wife
mouchatcho enfant child
yaouled jeune homme (< Arab. "ya, ouled" = "Hé! garçon!") young man
macache non no
bezzef beaucoup much
bibri à peu près nearly
bititre peut-être perhaps
balek prends garde! be careful!
kif kif comme as, how
sami sami ensemble together
didou eh! ohé! un tel (<"dis donc!") hey! so-and-so! (<"tell me!")
fantasia mot universel qui s'applique au plaisir, à la passion, à tous les mouvements expansifs de l'âme, à tout ce qui est agréable, bon, supérieur, étrange… [See entry in glossary.]

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The French in the Desert

Introduction

The following passage is yet another find by Mikael Parkvall, quite short this time, but nonetheless precious. The text is on pages 17 and 18 of a book by Corneille Trumelet, Les Français dans le désert: journal d'une expédition aux limites du Sáh'ra algérien. It was published in Paris 1863 by Garnier Frères. There is a copy of this book in the British Library. It appears that there was a second edition: Les français dans le désert: Journal historique, militaire, et descriptif d'une expédition aux limites du Sahara Algérien (Paris: Challamel, 1885), quoted in http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft4b69n91g&chunk.id=nsd0e3858&doc.view=print
in note 35 and several subsequent notes. The British Library lists several other works by Trumelet. Search their catalogue on his name:
http://catalogue.bl.uk/F/?func=file&file_name=login-bl-list
Trumelet, by the way, is the French name of an Algerian city, known as Tiaret in Arabic. It is the chief city of a province of the same name. Presumably the Trumelets took their family name from the city. He clearly identifies himself as a Frenchman ("notre occupation"), and apparently was a colonel in the French army.

Here is Trumelet's comment in the original French, followed by my translation, and the list he gives in Lingua Franca and French, to which I have added an English translation of each word. Most of the entries occur also in the preceding lists above. His suggestion that biblical history would have been quite different if the builders of the Tower of Babel had spoken Lingua Franca is quite charming.

The Text

Le sabir, ou langue franque, est un sorte de patois formé d'un mélange de mots espagnols, italiens et arabes. Le sabir, c'est la langue universelle; avec elle, plus de confusion, et, si le peuple de Dieu l'eût possédée, il terminait la tour de Babel à la barbe de l'Éternel. Le sabir n'est certainement pas riche; mais il supplée à cette pauvreté par l'admission de la pantomime: le mot qui manque est remplacé par un geste. Le sabir franco-arabe, né de la nécessité, est établi sur une concession tacite réciproque entre Français et Arabes; il a vu le jour dans les villes, où les relations entre les deux peuples ont été, naturellement, plus fréquentes, plus intimes. Pour ne pas trop se jalouser, ils ont fondée leur langue sur un terrain neutre, c'est-à-dire sur les langues espagnole et italienne.

Le sabir existait, d'ailleurs, mais moins étendu, avant la conquête. Les rapports entre Arabes, Espagnols et Italiens en avaient posé les bases; plus tard, notre occupation venant jeter le français dans ce salmis polyglotte, le sabir s'enrichit considérablement. Les mots formant le fond de la langue sabir sont:

bono tout ce qui est bon ou beau everything which is good or beautiful
makache négation, absence, manque negation, absence, lack
chouïs un peu ou doucement a little or gently
trabadjar travailler, s'occuper to work, to be busy
donnar donner to give
chapar prendre, voler, marauder to take, to steal, to maraud
mirar regarder, voir to look, to see
andar aller, marcher to go, to walk
tocar frapper, battre to hit, to beat
sabir savoir to know
bezzef beaucoup much
mandjaria manger, ce qui se mange to eat, that which is eaten
mouker femme woman, wife
aqui ici ou toi here or you

Translation of the Text

Sabir, or Lingua Franca, is a sort of patois consisting of a mixture of Spanish, Italian and Arabic words. Sabir is the universal language; with it there is no more confusion, and if the people of God had possessed it, they would have finished the Tower of Babel in despite of the Almighty. [See Genesis, chapter 11.] Sabir is certainly not a rich [language]; but it supplements this poverty by hand motions; a missing word is replaced by a gesture. The franco-arabic Sabir, born of necessity, was established on the [basis of] a tacit reciprocal concession between French and Arabs; it arose in the cities, where the relations between the two peoples were of course more frequent and more intimate. To avoid too much conflict, they based their [common] language on neutral territory, namely on Spanish and Italian.

Moreover, Sabir existed before the conquest [of Algeria], albeit [it was] less extensive. Relations between Arabs, Spaniards and Italians laid its foundations; later, our occupation having thrown French into this polyglot stew, Sabir was substantially enriched. The words forming the base of the Sabir language are: [here follow the LF words and French translation above.]

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Aziyadé

Special Note

In March, 2010, I received an email informing me that Pierre Loti's novel Aziyadé contains material on Sabir. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted this email before taking the name or address of my correspondent. If, on reading this, he will be kind enough to write to me again, I will be pleased to replace this paragraph with recognition of his interesting find.—ADC

Pierre Loti

Louis-Marie-Julien Viaud was born on January 14 1850 in Rochefort, a town north of Bordeaux in the province of Santonge, France. The story goes that the child loved to be out in the sun, which earned him the nickname of Rôti, which means "roasted" or "sunburned." He childishly pronounced this as Loti (a phenomenon known as "rhotacism", by the way) and the name stuck. When he started to write, he used this as a pen-name, prefixing the name Pierre. Loti in fact became a kind of avatar for the author. Almost all his writing, apart from his political tracts, was highly biographical, but this enabled him to vary the actual facts in accordance with his tastes, a perfectly acceptable trait since he was writing novels and not memoirs. In 1867 Loti joined the French navy as a cadet, and he served for more than forty years, eventually retiring with the rank of Captain. At this time France used its navy to display its power to the world. He visited many exotic places, having adventures which served as materials for his writing.

Loti was a prolific writer and a fine stylist, and was very popular during his day. His most famous work, Pêcheur d'Islande "An Iceland Fisherman" (1886) is considered a classic of French literature, and ran to many editions. Yet despite his success, Loti was not a happy man. He had lost the stark Protestant faith in which he had been brought up, and never found himself able to retrieve it. He writes to a friend in 1882:

At the moment I am given to a sort of vague, melancholy pantheism…I have the greatest horror of all that is related to progress, modern things and ideas, social responsibility and national solidarity…How I would like to be like my simple friends from Brittany who grow up and bear their fruit like healthy plants and then die calmly when it is time. (Quoted by Michael G. Lerner, Loti, New York, 1974 p. 49.)

Despite his assertion that he wanted a simple burial, his country gave him a state funeral when he died in 1923. Loti is not particularly popular at the present time, despite his forward-looking cultural pluralism. Although his novels seem well suited for the screen, only Pêcheur d'Islande was so adapted (1959).

It is noteworthy that when Loti mentions Sabir, the alternate name he uses for Lingua Franca, he finds no need to explain to his readers what he meant. Nor was it any cause for surprise that an English seafarer would understand and speak this langue connue "known language", as Loti refers to it.

Aziyadé, the Book and the Character

Aziyadé is the name of the book and the protagonist of Loti's first published novel which appeared in 1879 under the imprint of Calmann-Lévy. I have used the 1936 reprint by the same publishing house. So far as I am aware, the book was never translated into another language; the French text can be seen on Google Books. The novel describes how the Navy brought Loti—thinly disguised as an Englishman from Yorkshire—to the Greek port of Salonika, at that time part of the Ottoman Empire. He sees a young Circassian woman there, and falls in love with her at first sight. The book deals with his enterprise insensée "insane enterprise" of courting this young woman with whom he shares no common language—and she is married into the bargain! Serendipitously, he meets up with a young Sephardic-Jewish boy at the port, Samuel by name, who, apart from his native Spanish, speaks Lingua Franca, Turkish, and just one English phrase: "Do you want to go on board?" since he owns a small boat with which he ferries travelers to the offshore ships. Samuel is a descendant of the large number of Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492, and found a good home in the Ottoman lands, where they continued to speak Spanish until the present day. Of course their dialect is now gradually disappearing. It is recorded that around this time 46% of the population of Salonika was Jewish, and many of them worked as port workers. Loti decides to use this boy as a go-between to court his beloved, who lived in a harem outside the city. Her husband was old, and absent most of the time on business. The young women in the harem took full advantage of this to take lovers, covering for one another, and occasionally having the temerity to bring a man right into the harem. In chapter 1, section 17 the first real meeting of the lovers on the shore where Samuel has taken Loti in his boat is described in detail:

Samuel translates [from Turkish to Lingua Franca]: "She says that her god is not the same as yours, and she is not quite sure whether, according to the Koran, women have a soul like men. She thinks that when you leave, you will never see each other again, even after death, and because of this she is crying. Now, (said Samuel laughing) she wants to know if you would like to jump into the sea with her right away, and sink to the bottom clasping each other…and then I will take the boat back, and declare that I have not seen either of you."

I said: "I am willing to do so provided that she stops crying. Let us go right away and it will conclude the matter."

Aziyadé understood. Trembling, she flung her arms around my neck, and both of us leaned towards the water.

Samuel was terrified, held us back with an iron fist, and shouted: "Don't do that! That would be a wicked embrace that you would exchange there! When people drown, they get bitten and make a horrible grimace!"

This was said in Sabir with a savage bluntness which cannot be translated into French.

It is interesting that Loti the great stylist opines that some things are more effectively expressed in Sabir than in French. And what a pity that he did not favor us with the statement in its original language!

The Back Story

The name of the green-eyed Circassian young woman in real life was Hakidjé and Samuel was really called Daniel. Loti was able to meet up again with Aziyadé/Hakidjé in Istambul when she was moved there by her husband, but on a subsequent attempt to find her, she had already died, and he had to content himself with leaving a bouquet on her grave. His last visit there found the cemetary in ruins, the faded bouquet still in place. In the novel the Englishman meets an heroic death, defending the Turks whom he had come to love and admire so well. Loti indeed loved and admired the Turks, but this fancy of an heroic death in their behalf had no reflexion in Loti's own life.

The Texts

Chapter 1, section 9
Loti says that the following phrase is in Sabir: Te portarem col la mia barca which he translates: "I will carry you there with my boat."
Chapter 1, section 14
At this point in the narrative, Samuel appears to suspect Loti's motives. As Loti remarks: "In the old Orient, anything is possible." Samuel says to Loti: Che volete, che volete mî? "What do you want, what do you want of me?
Chapter 2, section 3
Loti declares that all Samuel's verbs end in -ate (despite volete, above!) and he uses the expression fate boum for anything that makes a noise. So if Samuel mounts a horse, Samuel fate boum, which means in this context, Loti tells us, "Samuel falls off". You may recall that this onomatopoeic expression is used on the front page of this Lingua Franca web site, where it refers to the sound of cannons.
Chapter 3, section 30
Samuel has a fear of cats. One evening he comes to Loti and announces that bir madame kédi ("A certain Mrs. Cat" in Turkish), a stray cat, belonging, as it turns out to a Jewish neighbor, has given birth to kittens on his pillow:
bir madame kédi qui portate ses piccolos dormir com Samuel. "a certain Mrs. Cat who has brought her little ones to sleep with Samuel."

Loti's Sabir is curious, and the French word ses in the last quote is especially suspicious. Why would a Spanish-speaking Jew in Salonika use such a form? The fact that Loti (chapter 3, section 56) misquotes and mistranslates the Muslim profession of faith in Arabic suggests that his Sabir may be equally suspect. Loti was an unabashed Turcophile, and this seems to have spurred him to learn Turkish properly, a courtesy he did not afford to other languages. Nevertheless, the context in which Sabir is used in this novel is of real interest, and we are grateful to him for that.


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Alan D. Corré
corre@uwm.edu