Vernacular language is the native language of a specific population during the Middle Ages. Latin and French were the most commonly used for literature. The general population did not have the ability to read or write. Mainly, the only people who learned how to read and write were the wealthy and upper class citizens. Eventually the general population learned to read and write using their own language or in other words vernacular. Origins
Most of the vernacular languages branched off from Latin and depended on the social class. Latin was wide spread during the rise of the Roman Empire and was the main spoken and written language until the fall of the Roman Empire in 1200 A.D. Latin “allowed for people of diverse linguistic backgrounds to be able to communicate,” (Sayre). Latin also changed form over time depending on who was speaking or writing it (Sayre). Latin was more spread around upper classes and members of the clergy, not the general population. Once literacy started to spread among the general population, women became involved in learning to read and write. This included the poetry aspect of literature and romance during the Middle Ages (Tillotson, 2005). Countries and Vernaculars
Vernacular languages are now known as languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, and native languages to a country. The clear definition of the vernacular is “of the people,” (Tillotson, 2005). Vernaculars became the most powerful symbol of ethnic identity. Another country that used vernacular to read and write during the Middle Ages was Ireland. Many of their written documents did not survive but “Old Irish glosses and commentaries on Latin texts from the monasteries are known,” (Tillotson, 2005). Another example of a country using vernacular would be England. England was divided into English, which the lower class spoke as well as the conquered, and Anglo-Norman or Norman French (Tillotson, 2005). The Norman French language was one of...
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