Vernacular

A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is a second language or foreign language to the population, such as a national language, standard language, or lingua franca. he term is not a recent one. In 1688 James Howell wrote: Concerning Italy, doubtless there were divers before the Latin did spread all over that Country; the Calabrian, and Apulian spoke Greek, whereof some Relicks are to be found to this day; but it was an adventitious, no Mother-Language to them: 'tis confess'd that Latium it self, and all the Territories about Rome, had the Latin for its maternal and common first vernacular Tongue; but Tuscany and Liguria had others quite discrepant, viz. the Hetruscane and Mesapian, whereof though there be some Records yet extant; yet there are none alive that can understand them: The Oscan, the Sabin and Tusculan, are thought to be but Dialects to these. Here vernacular, mother language and dialect are already in use in a modern sense.[1] According to Merriam-Webster's,[2] "vernacular" was brought into the English language as early as 1601 from Latin vernaculus, "native", which had been in figurative use in Classical Latin as "national" and "domestic", having originally been derived from vernus and verna, a male or female slave respectively born in the house rather than abroad. The figurative meaning was broadened from the diminutive extended words vernaculus, vernacula. Varro, the classical Latin grammarian, used the term vocabula vernacula, "termes de la langue nationale" or "vocabulary of the national language" as opposed to foreign words.[3] In some discipl

nes, such as Linguistic Anthropology, the term "vernacular" is falling out of usage and has come to be identified as an offensive term. "Dialect" or "dialect variation" is more appropriate in context, as the word "vernacular" comes from the Latin "vernaculus" (domestic, native) which in turn comes from the Etruscan "verna" (home-born slave, native). In 1806, Noah Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In 1807 Webster started two decades of intensive work to expand his work into a fully comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language. In order to evaluate the etymology of words, Webster learned 26 languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit. Webster hoped to standardize American speech, since Americans in different parts of the country used somewhat different vocabularies and spelled, pronounced, and used words differently. Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris, and at the University of Cambridge. His book contained 70,000 words, of which 12,000 had never appeared in a dictionary before. As a spelling reformer, Webster believed that English spelling rules were unnecessarily complex, so his dictionary introduced American English spellings, replacing "colour" with "color", "waggon" with "wagon", and "centre" with "center". He also added American words, like "skunk" and "squash", that did not appear in British dictionaries. At the age of 70 in 1828, Webster published his dictionary; it sold well with 2,500 copies. In 1840, the second edition was published in two volumes.