Usama ibn Munqidh (488–584/1095–1188) was a distinguished poet, warrior, and nobleman born just months before Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade. He lived in what is now western Syria and witnessed the consolidation of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Tripoli, and the Principality of Antioch and their subsequent decline at the hands of the Zangids and Ayyubids. This article is a survey and analysis of Usama’s exposure to the language of the Franks in his capacity as a diplomat. In the first part, I introduce Usama and his socio-cultural background and career in order to establish a context for his encounters with the Franks and the “Frankish”’ language. I then analyse his second language (L2) acquisition, focusing on his unique Frankish vocabulary as well as the representations of orality of Frankish speech preserved in his work. Finally, I compare his acquisition of Frankish to other cases of L2 learning from the sixth century AH/twelfth century CE. My primary aim is not to determine his exact level of fluency, but rather to understand the circumstances in which L2 learning and exchange could occur.
Smarandache, Bogdan C.
"Re-examining Usama Ibn Munqidh's Knowledge of "Frankish": A Case Study of Medieval Bilingualism During the Crusades,"
The Medieval Globe: Vol. 3
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/tmg/vol3/iss1/4