The History of Vernacular Languages

Topics: Middle Ages, Dialect, German language Pages: 2 (825 words) Published: January 21, 2013
The History of Vernacular Languages
Lea Pidgeon
American Intercontinental University Online


This paper discusses the origins and history of vernacular languages in the twelfth century. It also describes some of the cultural changes that resulted from this shift in language.

The History of Vernacular Languages
One definition for vernacular language is “The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language” (Farlex Inc,, 2013). There are many forms of vernacular languages that vary from region to region within a particular country. A few examples include: Celtic Languages, such as, Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic (Erse), Manx Gaelic Germanic languages, such as, Bavarian German, Dutch, English (Old English, Anglo-Saxon), Frisian, High German, Low German, and Yiddish. During the rise of the Roman Empire Latin became the common language. Only the upper class and clergy were literate in Latin. During the High Middle Ages, the feudal aristocracy felt the need for literacy and education. This created a demand for literature that applied to the lives if the ruling military class. This brought about the beginning of the spread of different forms of vernacular language. The spread of vernacular languages was also due to the consolidation of monarchies and the decreased papal influence. Due to the breakdown of Christendom, separate countries ruled by one king or emperor (Applied History Research Group, 1997). These events created a newfound sense of closeness among people in their own region, as well as a sense of pride for their developing individual nations. By the end of the twelfth century, Latin was still used in formal politics, but in England and France government and legal documents were being written in the vernacular (Applied History Research Group, 1997). “Travelling entertainers like the troubadours of southern France and the Minnesinger of Germany carried vernacular poetry and song around the...
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