The word vernacular is one I use a lot on this site, but never went into detail on before now. It describes the dialect spoken by a group of ordinary people in a particular region, and it has a fascinating etymology. Vernacular entered our vernacular in 1601 and was first used by a bishop named William Barlow in some papers defending the Anglican church. Before then, it was used in Latin as vernaculus, which meant "native", sometimes specifically in reference to servants and slaves. This came to be associated with language over time because the Romans used the phrase vernacula vocabula to describe local dialects, and the vocabula part was dropped when the word entered English. The root of vernaculus is verna, which meant "locally born slave", and that could either be Etruscan or from a Proto-Indo-European word meaning "house"
11/4/2020 04:40:42 am
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.