My mother tongue and English (indicating your preferred language in your user profile)

strongly against (country) flags on this platform, as these can quickly become (wanted or unwanted) political/national statements that should be well kept away from this platform.

Anyone can of course put symbols or statements about their preferred languages in their profile.
And I never feel the need to ‘guess’ a language, as I just stay with English even when I comment observations from Germany - except I know the users behind the account.
But even in these cases I often use English in comments when the topic is about the observation and identification, and not some personal ‘chatting’ - because other users /IDers might find this additional information helpul when encountering the observation.

Translating anything from English into another language should be no barrier in today’s times


An interesting subject related to language choice and iNaturalist. I live in Chile with my wife, and my iNat is in English. When it suggests the common name of the species, they use the Latin American names, often very Chilean. However, when my wife uses iNaturalist, with her preferred language, Spanish, the common names are all Spanish from Spain and do not contain the Chilean names. For example, turkey tangle frog fruit, or Phyla nodiflora, on my iNat uses the charming Chilean name from the Mapuche, Tiqui-tiqui. However, when my wife uses it with her Spanish language, the common name is Bella Alfombra. As far as I can figure out, there’s no way to switch to the Mapuche name used here in Chile. Both of us would prefer the Chilean common name which allows us to communicate our finds better here.


We have an open request ‘under review’ for that

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does she have her account set to prioritize names used in Chile? bella alfombra is currently set as the global default Spanish name, but tiqui tiqui has been assigned to Chile—so if your name display preferences (under account settings [configuración de la cuenta] → content & display [contenido y presentación]) are set to prioritize common names used in Chile, you should see tiqui tiqui as the default common name for Phyla nodiflora, regardless of your site language.

(if she’s already prioritizing Chilean names, one issue that might’ve been affecting tiqui tiqui in particular is that someone had marked the name as unaccepted [which is most often reserved for scientific name synonyms]; i’ve gone ahead and updated it to accepted, so it should now display as normal everywhere if it wasn’t doing so previously)

(@dianastuder note that the name tiqui tiqui, though Mapuche in origin, has as of now solely been entered into iNat as Spanish, and either way it’s already been prioritized for Chile—so this specific case should be resolvable with the already-implemented common name place prioritization functionality)


I live in both English and French (Quebec) and DeepL is a bit better than Google at translations but it suffers from being a commercial product and want you to pay if your text is more than a couple of paragraphs long. That’s fine if you are using it regularly but if it’s just now and again as I guess would generally be the case here then it is a bit llimited.

Which technically is a contradiction, if you want to get literal: English as a French Language

No. The language to which the term was originally applied was not French, and the usual understanding is that it meant “Frankish language” (where Franks = Europeans).

Apart from that, “lingua franca” is the standard linguistic term for a language regularly used for the purpose of communication between groups who do not share a common native language. The fact that it has been extended from its original meaning is part of normal semantic change over time, although in many cases we are not aware of this because the etymology is not transparent.


South Africa has moved from Fanagalo on the mines, to English.

Originally lingua franca was a manufactured language - Creole, Pidgin, Esperanto. Making English unusual for being a living language (cosmopolitan weed ?)

taken from the medieval Mediterranean Lingua Franca, a Romance-based pidgin language used especially by traders in the Mediterranean Basin from the 11th to the 19th centuries - says Wiki

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Well, we’re drifting rather off topic, but on this point:

Not really, at least the way I’ve seen the term used. The Wikipedia article explains it pretty well, actually.

Any language regularly used for communication between people who do not share a native language is a lingua franca. Lingua franca is a functional term, independent of any linguistic history or language structure.

It may be a contact language (creole/pidgin), or a colonial language, or an artificial auxiliary language, or one that is used by multiple groups as part of a shared cultural/religious history (Latin in the Middle Ages, Arabic). So I wouldn’t say English is unusual in serving as a lingua franca while simultaneously also having a large population of people who speak it as a first language.

It is true that a language that is being used primarily by non-native speakers may, over time, tend to undergo certain changes as a result of influences from the native languages of those speakers. So use as a lingua franca can result in creolization or in the emergence of new varieties of a language (e.g. the English used by EU bodies has certain typical features of vocabulary and usage – often derived from French or German – that differ from usage in Anglophone countries).


I am using the phrase “lingua franca” for the situation, that people of different mother tongues get in contact to each other. This might be a certain existing language, or a created or an emerging language. So in natural science the “lingua franca” is English in the 21 th century, and has been German from the end of the 19th century to WW II.
The lingua franca in the catholic church 8vatican) is Latin.

And in communist time the “lingua franca” on Hungarian campgrounds
was also (bad) German, and not (good) Russian.

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English appears more as a global language

In African literature too

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