- This article addresses vernacular language; see also vernacular architecture.
The vernacular is the native language of a country or locality.
In previous centuries scholarly work in western Europe was typically written in Latin, so the works written in a native language (such as Italian or German) were said to be in the vernacular.
The vernacular is also often contrasted with a liturgical language. For example, until the 1960s, Roman Catholics held masses in Latin rather than in local vernacular language, to this day the Coptic Church holds liturgies in Coptic, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church holds liturgies in Ge'ez, etc. The Reformation was spread by the publication of Bibles and other religious writings in the vernacular, and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council permitted the use of vernacular liturgies in Roman Catholicism.
In more recent times, the phrase has also been applied to works that have been written to emulate the everyday speech of the middle class or the working class. Sometimes, this means that slang and colloquial speech is included. Such material may also use different rules of grammar and punctuation than other writings, both academic and literary.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04