Lingua Franca Nova: Wikis


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Lingua Franca Nova
Flag LFN flag
Created by C. George Boeree
Setting and usage International auxiliary language
Total speakers > 100[1]
Category (purpose) constructed language
Category (sources) based on Romance and Creole languages
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 art
ISO 639-3 lfn

Lingua Franca Nova (abbreviated LFN) is an auxiliary constructed language created by Dr. C. George Boeree of Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania. Its vocabulary is based on French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan. The grammar is highly reduced and similar to the Romance creoles. The language is phonetically spelled, using 22 letters of either the Latin or Cyrillic alphabets.


History and community

Boeree began working on LFN in 1965, with the goal to create a simple, creole-like international auxiliary language. He was inspired to do this by the Mediterranean Lingua Franca, a pidgin used in the Mediterranean in centuries past. He used French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan, all of them Romance languages, as the basis for his new language.

LFN was first presented on the Internet in 1998.[2] A Yahoo! Group was formed in 2002 by Bjorn Madsen and today has more than 200 members. Group members have contributed significantly to the further evolution of the language. Stefan Fisahn created a wiki[3] for the language in 2005 (see below) with over 1500 pages and 25,000 edits as of January 1, 2010. A few issues of a journal called Orizones Nova (New Horizons)[4] were published online by David MacLeod in late 2006 and early 2007. LFN was given an ISO 639-3 designation (lfn) by SIL in January 2008.[5]. The site moved to Wikia in 2009.

Introductions and other materials are available in 12 languages. The searchable "master" dictionary (LFN - English / English - LFN) has recently been updated by Simon Davies, and has over 13,000 entries.[6] There are smaller dictionaries available in eight languages and a wikibooks tutorial in five languages.[7]

Pronunciation and orthography

LFN vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) are pronounced as in Spanish and Italian (approximately as ah, eh, ee, oh, and oo.) The vowels i and u are also used to represent the sounds of y and w, respectively. Diphthongs are ai, au, eu, and oi (as in my, cow, "eh-w," and boy). In IPA:

Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Most of the consonants are pronounced as in English, except that c is always pronounced as in cat, g is always as in go, j is pronounced as in French (like the z in azure), the r is pronounced as in Spanish, and x is pronounced like sh. Also, n before c or g is pronounced as in ring. In IPA:

Bilabial Labio-
Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p b   t d     k ɡ  
Fricative   f v s z ʃ ʒ     h
Nasal m   n        
Trill     r        
Approximant w   l   j    

The letters k, q, w, and y may be used in proper names from other languages, but are considered to be nothing more than variations on c, c, u, and i, respectively. The letter h is seldom used and may be left unpronounced if the speaker finds it difficult.

Stress is on the vowel before the last consonant or, if that is not possible, on the first vowel. For example la casa de me tio ("my uncle's house") is pronounced "la CA-sa de me TI-o." The one exception is the plural in -s or -es, which does not alter the original stress.

Below is the LFN alphabet in its Latin and Cyrillic forms, and with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) values.

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

Enthusiasts have also developed ways of using a variety of other writing systems, such as Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, and Japanese, for LFN.[8]


A complete grammar of LFN is available at LFN grammar (English).

Word order

LFN has a strict word order. The general word order is:

subject noun phrase - verb phrase
Maria oia Joan - "Maria hears John"

A noun phrase has this order:

(determiners -) noun (- adjectives)
La tre omes grande... - "The three large men..."

A verb phrase has this order:

(tense -) (leading verb -) verb (- adverb) (- object noun phrase)
...ia nesesa come rapida - "...needed to eat quickly" come rapida tota tartes - "...will quickly eat all the pies"

A prepositional phrase follows what it modifies, and has this order:

preposition - noun phrase
...en la cosina - " the kitchen"


Plural nouns are formed by appending -s to nouns ending in vowels or -es to nouns ending in consonants. There are no noun cases, not even for pronouns. Cases are indicated through prepositions and word order.


There are two articles: la (the) and un (a). As in English, there is no indefinite article for the plural.

Other words function similarly:

  • esta - this, these
  • acel - that, those
  • no - no, zero
  • tota - all
  • ambos - both
  • cada - every, each
  • cualce - any, whichever
  • sola - only
  • tal - such
  • multe - many, much
  • alga - some, a little, a few
  • poca - few, little
  • otra - other
  • mesma - same


Pronouns are invariant.

  • me - I, me, my
  • tu - you (singular), your
  • el - she, her, he, him, it
  • nos - we, us, our
  • vos - you (plural), your
  • los - they, them
  • se - third person reflective pronoun (e.g. himself, herself, itself, themselves) and possessive adjective (his, her, its, their)
  • on - one, used like German "man" or French "on"

Me, tu, nos, vos, and se become possessive by putting them in front of the noun possessed where they function as determiners. "My cat" can be expressed as me gato or la gato de me.

There are no gender distinctions between "he", "she", and "it". If necessary, one can use words like la fem, la om, la fia, la fio, la cosa (the woman, the man, the girl, the boy, the thing), etc.

Unlike in the Romance languages, there is no polite/impolite contrast for the second person: tu is always used for the singular, vos always for the plural.

Some of the determiners can be used as pronouns:

  • esta - this
  • estas - these
  • acel - that
  • aceles - those
  • otra - other
  • otras - others
  • tota - all
  • ambos - both
  • multe - many, much
  • poca - few, little
  • cada - each
  • cualce - any
  • alga - some, a few, a little

Other pronouns, derived from determiners, include the following:

  • cadun - everyone, everybody
  • cada cosa - everything
  • cualcun - whomever, anyone
  • cualce cosa - whatever, whichever, anything
  • algun - someone, somebody
  • alga cosa - something
  • nun - no one, nobody
  • no cosa - nothing
  • la un la otra - one another, each other


There are no conjugations of verbs in LFN. The basic form remains the same regardless of person, number, or tense.

The present tense is represented by the basic verb:

  • El come - "He/she eats, he/she is eating."

It is also used as a "historical" tense, such as when relating a story that has been clearly established as occurring in the past.

The past tense is indicated by the particle ia:

  • El ia come - "He/she ate."

The future tense is indicated by the particle va:

  • El va come - "He/she will eat."

There is an optional particle ta, which indicates unreality and can be used where other languages might use a conditional or subjunctive mood:

  • Me ia duta ce el ta vade - "I doubted he would go."

Negation is indicated by putting no before the tense particle or (in the present tense) the verb.

There are also adverbs and auxiliary verbs to expand verb usage. For example, the adverb ja, meaning "already," can be used to express what in other languages is the perfect: me ia come ja ("I ate already") may be used to suggest "I have (already) eaten."

Verbs can be used as nouns without change. For example, dansa, as a verb, means "dance/dances", but un dansa is "a dance" and la dansa is "the dance." Without an article, it serves as an abstract noun, so "dancing is good" or "to dance is good" are translated as dansa es bon. This is also the form used when one verb follows another. "I want to dance," for example, is simply me vole dansa.

Verbs can be made into adjectives: The active participle is formed by adding -nte to the verb. For example, come becomes comente, meaning "eating". This should never be used as an abstract noun, as it often is in English.

The passive participle is formed by adding -da to the verb. For example, come becomes comeda, meaning "eaten". This should not be confused with the past tense.

Participles, like any adjectives, can follow the verb "to be," and can be used to express what in other languages might be considered the continuous or the passive:

  • Aora, nos es comente selaco - "Now, we are (in the process of) eating shark."
  • Doman, nos va es comeda par selacos - "Tomorrow, we will be eaten by sharks."

Note that there are other ways to indicate the continuous and the passive:

  • Nos continua come selaco - "We continue to eat shark."
  • Algun va come nos - "Someone will eat us."

Verb transitivity is contextual. Me va boli la acua ("I will boil the water") and La acua boli ("The water boils") are both correct.

Double verbs

In LFN, verbs often come in pairs. The "leading" verbs are similar to the use of helper verbs in English. Common examples of leading verbs include the following:

  • vole - want to
  • nesesa - need to, must
  • sabe - know how to
  • espeta - expect to
  • espera - hope to
  • teme - fear to
  • preferi - prefer to
  • vade - go / leave
  • debe - should, must
  • pote - can, may
  • esita - hesitate to
  • osa - dare to
  • menasa - threaten to
  • finje - pretend to
  • apara - appear to
  • atenta - try to

There is no equivalent to the word "to," and the "following" verb is left in its simplest form:

  • Me va atenta vola doman. - "I will try to fly tomorrow."
  • On debe brosa la dentes cada dia. - "One should brush one's teeth every day."


Adjectives follow the noun they modify, with two exceptions: Bon (good) and mal (bad) may come before the noun, due to their frequent use, making it more convenient to then place other modifiers after the noun. Unlike the natural Romance languages, adjectives in LFN do not have gender or plural forms, i.e. they don't "agree" with the nouns they describe.

The comparative is made with plu (more) or min (less). "The most" is la plu and "the least" is la min:

  • Jan es plu bon ce Jo. - "John is better than Joe."
  • Jil es la plu bon. - "Jill is the best."

Equivalence is indicated with tan... como:

  • Marco es tan grande como Mona. - "Mark is as big as Mona."

Like verbs, adjectives can be used as nouns. For example, bela means "beautiful", but un bela means "a beautiful one" or "a beauty." This works with participles, too: la studiante and la studiada mean "the student" and "the studied," respectively, from the verb studia, "study."

An adjective can be made into an abstract noun by adding -ia. In this way bela becomes belia, meaning beauty. This can also be used with nouns: madre (mother) becomes madria (motherhood).


LFN doesn't have an explicit way of marking adverbs. Instead, any adjective can be used as an adverb by placing it after a verb or at the very beginning of the sentence. Un om felis for example means "a happy man", whereas el dansa felis means "he/she dances happily". Adverbs used to modify adjectives precede the adjective. Here are examples of common adverbs:

  • bon - well
  • mal - badly
  • rapida - quickly
  • lenta - slowly
  • temprana - early
  • tarda - late
  • pronto - soon
  • ja - already
  • aora - now
  • alora - then
  • ancora - still
  • ier - yesterday
  • oji - today
  • doman - tomorrow
  • vera - truly, very
  • nunca - never
  • sempre - always
  • tempora- temporarily


Prepositions are placed before the noun or noun phrase, and the prepositional phrase is placed after the noun being modified, or, if used adverbially, after the verb or at the beginning of the sentence. There are 22 basic prepositions in LFN:

  • a - at, to
  • ante - before
  • asta - near, until
  • como - like
  • con - with
  • contra - against
  • de - of, from, since
  • en - in, into
  • entre - between, among
  • estra - out of
  • longo - along
  • par - by
  • per - for, in order to
  • pos - after, behind, according to
  • sin - without
  • sirca - around, approximately
  • su - below, under
  • supra - above, over
  • sur - on
  • tra - through
  • ultra - beyond, past, across
  • ce - than

Many prepositions can be used as adverbs by placing a before them:

  • a su - down, below
  • a supra - up, above
  • a estra - out, outside
  • a en - in, inside


There are a number of interrogative words that are used to introduce questions:

  • ке/ce - what
  • ки/ci - who, whom
  • куал/cual - which
  • de ci - whose, of whom
  • como - how
  • cuanto - how much, how many
  • cuando - when
  • do - where
  • per ce - why

Questions may begin with one of these words or may be indicated by rising intonation alone:

  • Como tu crea un casa de avias? - "How do you make a bird house?"
  • Tu vole dansa? - "Do you want to dance?"

One may also express questions by beginning the sentence with the interrogative particle Esce...? or by adding no? (no) or si? (yes) to the end of the sentence, after a comma:

  • Esce tu parla Deutx? - "Do you speak German?"
  • Tu parla Italian, si? - "You speak Italian, don't you?"

Relative clauses

Relative clauses are introduced by relative pronouns :

  • ce - that
  • ci - who, whom
  • cual - which
  • de ci - whose, of whom

Relative clauses follow the noun or noun phrase that they modify:

  • La fem ci me ama veni de Frans. – "The woman (whom) I love comes from France."
  • La robot ce me ia construi no opera. – "The robot I built doesn't work."

The relative pronouns ci and cual may be preceded by prepositions:

  • La cosa per cual me espera la plu es un bisicle nova - "The thing I wish for the most is a new bicycle."
  • La fem de ci nos parla labora a me ofisia. – "The woman, of whom we speak, works at my office."

Ce is also used to introduce noun clauses:

  • Me pensa ce el es bela. - "I think that she is beautiful."
  • El ia dise ce tu auto es fea. - "He said that your car is ugly."


There are several simple conjunctions in LFN:

  • e - and
  • o - or
  • ma - but
  • si - if, whether
  • donce - then, consequently, therefore

For example:

  • Luis e me vole vade, ma Maria vole resta asi. - "Louis and I want to go, but Mary wants to stay here."
  • Si me ta ave un auto, donce me ta pote vade. - "If I had a car, then I could go."

Two conjunctions are used to introduce adverbial clauses and respond to "why?" questions:

  • afince - so that, in order that
  • car - because

Adverbial clauses usually follow the main clause:

  • Me no teme la can, car el es multe peti. – "I am not afraid of the dog, because it is very small."
  • Me core afince la rinoseros no catura me. – "I'm running so that the rhinos don't catch me."

Some of the interrogative words may also be used as conjunctions introducing adverbial clauses:

  • como - how, as
  • do - where
  • cuando - when

For example:

  • La lupos cria cuando los vide la luna - "The wolves howl when they see the moon."
  • Me vole abitua do la clima es bon - "I want to live where the weather is good."

A number of word combinations form additional conjunctions:

  • pos cuando - after
  • ante cuando - before
  • asta cuando - until
  • de cuando - since
  • en cuando - while
  • a do - to where, whither
  • de do - from where, whence

For example:

  • El ia pote sci ante cuando el ia pote pasea. - "He could ski before he could walk."
  • Me gusta escuta a la radio en cuando me labora. - "I like to listen to the radio while I work."


  • 1 - un
  • 2 - du
  • 3 - tre
  • 4 - cuatro
  • 5 - sinco
  • 6 - ses
  • 7 - sete
  • 8 - oto
  • 9 - nove
  • 10 - des

Higher numbers are constructed as follows:

  • 11 - des-un
  • 20 - dudes
  • 100 - (un) sento
  • 101 - sento-un
  • 321 - tresento-dudes-un
  • 1000 - (un) mil
  • 45 678 - cuatrodes-sinco mil sessento-setedes-oto
  • 1 000 000 - (un) milion

Numbers that express the order of things are the same, except that they follow the noun, e.g. la om tre, "the third man," instead of la tre omes, "the three men." To use ordinal numbers comparatively, lfn uses constructions like el es la stela tre en brilia or el es la stela tre la plu briliante - "It is the third most brilliant star."

Fractions are constructed with -i, e.g. di, tri, cuatri,... desi, senti, mili, etc. Groups can be referred to with -uple, as in duple - double, duo, couple.


LFN has a small number of regular affixes that help to create new words. The most common suffixes are -or, -ador, and -eria, which refer to a person, a device, and a place respectively. They can be added to any noun, adjective, or verb. For example, from the word carne, meaning meat, we can make carnor (butcher) and carneria (butcher's shop). Similarly, from the word lava, meaning wash, we can make laveria (laundry) and lavador (washing machine).

One useful suffix is -i which, added to an adjective and some nouns, means "to become" or "to cause to become." For example, calda is hot, so caldi means to heat. It is also used to make fractions, so cuatri means a fourth or quarter, as well as to divide into fourths. It can also be used with names for tools with the meaning "to use," so telefoni means "to use the telefon".

Two more common suffixes are -eta, which means a small version of something (boveta is a calf, from bove, cow), and -on, which means a large version of something (telon means a sheet or tablecloth, from tela, cloth).

There are a few suffixes that turn nouns into adjectives: -al means "pertaining to...," e.g. nasional; -in means "similar to...," e.g. serpentin; -os means "full of...," e.g. mofos (moldy).

Other suffixes include -able, -isme, and -iste.

There are also three prefixes. Non- means not or un-, so nonfelis means unhappy. Re- means again or in the opposite direction, so repone means replace. And des- means to undo, so desinfeta means disinfect.

Words may also be created by joining two existing words (compounds). Most compounds in LFN are nouns constructed from a verb and its object: portacandela means candlestick, pasatempo means pastime. Bon and mal can be joined to other words, as in bondise (bless) and maldise (curse or badmouth). Two nouns are never joined (as they often are in English), but are linked with de instead: casa de avias means birdhouse.

A complete list of LFN affixes appears at the LFN wiki.


Useful phrases

Lingua Franca Nova English
Serjo: Bon dia, seniora. Good day, miss.
Maria: Alo. Hello.
S: Como es tu? How are you?
M: Bon, e tu? Good, and you?
S: No mal. Ce es tu nom? Not bad. What is your name?
M: Me nom es Maria. My name is Maria.
S: Tu gusta un bir? Would you like a beer?
M: Si, per favore. Grasias! Yes, please. Thank you!
S: No problem! You're welcome!
M: Joia! Cheers!
S: Tu es multe bela. You are very beautiful.
M: Pardona? Excuse me?
S: Me pensa ce me ama tu. I think I love you.
M: Me debe vade aora. I must go now.
S: Asta la ora? Txau! See you later? Ciao!
M: Adio. Goodbye.
S: Bon sera, me cara. Goodnight, my dear.
M: Bon fortuna! Good luck!

La Preambul a la Declara Universal de Diretos Umana

Considerante ce la reconose de la dinia inerente e la diretos egal e nonalienable de tota la membros de la familia umana es la funda de libria, justia, e pas en la mundo,

Considerante ce la desconose e la despresa de la diretos umana ia porta atas de barbaria ce ofende la consiensa de umania, e ce la veni de un mundo do la esentes umana va es libre per parla e crea e librida de temia e de miseria, es proclamada como la aspira la plu alta de esentes umana,

Considerante ce es esensal ce la diretos umana es protejeda par un sistem de diretos, afince no person es forsada, como recurso ultima, a la rebelia contra tirania e oprimi,

Considerante ce es esensal promove la developa de relates bonvolente entre nasiones,

Considerante ce en la Carta, la poplas de la Nasiones Unida proclama se fide en la diretos umana fundal, en la dinia e la valua de la person umana, en la egalia de diretos de omes e de femes, e ce los ia decide promove la progresa sosial e leva la cualia de vive con un libria plu completa,

Considerante ce la statos ce es membros promete securi, en coopera con la Nasiones Unida, la respeta e la oserva universal de diretos umana e libria fundal,

Considerante ce un conseta comun de esta diretas e librias es la plu importante per la completa plen de esta promete,

La Asemblea Jeneral

Proclama esta Declara Universal de Diretos Umana como un ideal comun per la aspira de tota la poplas e nasiones, afince cada person e cada organo sosial, con esta Declara en mente constante, va promove la respeta de esta diretos e librias per ensenia e instrui, per mesuras progresante, nasional e internasional, e va securi la reconose e aplica universal e produinte, ambos entra la poplas de la statos membro e entra la teritorios su se autoria legal.

See also


  1. ^ Between 30 (estimate based on use of lfn in yahoo group and wiki edits) and 200 (members of lfn yahoo group)
  2. ^ LFN homepage
  3. ^ LFN Wiki
  4. ^ Orizones Nova
  5. ^ ISO designation
  6. ^ LFN - English Dictionary
  7. ^ Learn LFN
  8. ^


  • Fisahn, Stefan (2005) Plansprache: Lingua Franca Nova. Contraste, 244, p. 12.
  • Harrison, Richard H. (2008) Lingua Franca Nova. Invented Languages, 1, pp. 30 –33.

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Lingua Franca Nova


Lingua Franca Nova

  1. A constructed language based on French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan using either Latin or Cyrillic alphabets with grammar based on that of Romance Creoles.

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

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