This question asks about the etymology of the term lingua franca. It can be looked up on Etymonline or Wikipedia with satisfactory result. But this isn't a word definition, and I actually found the top answer interesting to read, though it probably isn't any more informative than Wikipedia or Etymonline.

Should a question like this be closed? From the comments it appears that someone feels quite strongly about it; but, considering that it isn't a plain word-definition question, I'd be inclined to keep it open.

  • Having just looked at 'the question' for the first time, I can see something of the dilemma. Particularly in light of the little spat in the associated comments. I agree that particular poster has a tendency to pose questions where I suspect he already knows the answer; he just thinks that answer is interesting. Personally, I always thought the franca part just meant open, accessible. So I'm interested to know it's from the Frankish tongue. But I'd never have thought to look that up myself, so I'm glad I came across it! – FumbleFingers Jun 3 '11 at 22:04
  • @FumbleFingers: The question per se is interesting, the problem is that it is too basic: You type and you have the answer... – Alenanno Jun 4 '11 at 0:29
  • @Alenanno: Exactly. That's why I said it's a bit of a dilemma. I would never have thought to ask, because of what I thought I already knew - which turned out not to be the case anyway. For me the issue is that it's not really a question - it's an interesting little snippet of information. Which, as I said, I suspect the poster already knew when he 'asked'. But I was still happy to have been enlightened. – FumbleFingers Jun 4 '11 at 0:44

It's hard. The question by itself is general reference. But behind (most) every question, there's an interesting answer.

I think the voting to close takes care of that, you need 5 people to close, if there aren't 5 people to do it then it stays open.

Oh, and I think the strong feelings about closing were motivated by exasperation at multiple similar 'general reference'-looking questions by the same person. (and I think the downvoting should take care of that).


In this particular case, I also added a close vote for a few reasons.

  • The question showed no attempt to provide any help in answering the question. Instead, it claimed an inability to find the history or origin at all. Given that even Wikipedia has the etymology listed, it seems apparent that this is as likely of a General Reference etymology question as we are ever to see.

  • After trimming out the irrelevant content from the question body, it becomes "What is the etymology of lingua franca?" This isn't a bad question, but when the entire body of the question is irrelevant it may be a hint that this type of question is uninteresting. Replacing lingua franca with any other word wouldn't change this question's form in the slightest. This seems like a bad precedent.

  • I tend to be close happy.

  • +1 "Replacing lingua franca with any other word wouldn't change this question's form in the slightest." You have a point there. I voted to close as well. There are other questions that "seem" general reference but it's the how they are being asked that changes everything, see @Billare questions that are really well-posted and intriguing, although sometimes he asks "basic" things... I can't come up with examples now :D – Alenanno Jun 4 '11 at 0:17

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