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"
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd