COKE ON LITTLETON, Lib. iii. Sec. 268.
The Language of the Algerines.
THE very day, I was dismissed from the college of the priests, I was re|turned to my master, and the next morn|ing sent again to labour in the quarry. To my surprise, no harsh reflections were made upon, what these true believers must have stiled, my obstinate prejudice against the true faith; for I am sensible that my master was so good a mussulman as to have rejoiced in my conversion, though it might affect his purse. I experienced Page 67 the extremest contumely and severity; but I was never branded as a heretic. I had by this time acquired some knowl|edge of their language, if language it could be called, which bad defiance to modes and tenses, appearing to be the shreds and clippings of all the tongues, dead and living, ever spoken since the creation. It is well known on the sea coasts of the Mediterranean by the name of LINGUA FRANCA. Probably it had its rise in the awkward endeavours of the natives to converse with strangers from all parts of the world, and the vulgar people, calling all foreigners Franks, supplied its name. I the more readily acquired this jargon, as it contained many Latin derivatives. If I have conjectured the principle, upon which the Lingua Franca was originally formed, it is applied through all stages of its existence: every person having good right to introduce words and phrases from his vernacular tongue, and which, with Page 68 some alteration in accent, are readily a|dopted.*
This medley of sounds is generally spoken, but the people of the higher rank pride themselves in speaking pure Arabic. My conference with the Mol|lah was effected in Latin, which the priest pronounced very differently from the learned president and professors of Har|vard college, but delivered himself with fluency and elegance.