views updated Jun 11 2018

ver·nac·u·lar / vərˈnakyələr/ • n. 1. (usu. the vernacular) the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region: he wrote in the vernacular to reach a larger audience. ∎  the terminology used by people belonging to a specified group or engaging in a specialized activity: gardening vernacular. 2. architecture concerned with domestic and functional rather than monumental buildings: buildings in which Gothic merged into farmhouse vernacular.• adj. 1. (of language) spoken as one's mother tongue; not learned or imposed as a second language. ∎  (of speech or written works) using such a language: vernacular literature. 2. (of architecture) concerned with domestic and functional rather than monumental buildings.DERIVATIVES: ver·nac·u·lar·ism / -ˌrizəm/ n.ver·nac·u·lar·i·ty / -ˌnakyəˈlaritē/ n.ver·nac·u·lar·ize / -ˌrīz/ v.ver·nac·u·lar·ly adv.


views updated May 23 2018

1. Occurring in the everyday language of a place and regarded as native or natural to it: vernacular usage, expressions vernacular to English. The term is used contrastively to compare the mainly or only oral expression of a people, a rural or urban community, or a lower social class (a vernacular Indian language, a vernacular poet, vernacular Glasgow) with languages and styles that are classical, literary, liturgical, or more socially and linguistically cultivated and prestigious (a classical Indian language, Augustan English, standard English, polite Glasgow).

2. Such a language or variety: speaking (in) the vernacular; written in the Yorkshire vernacular. The term is used across the judgemental spectrum, from the warm approval of ‘vernacularists’ through the more or less neutral usage of linguists to a traditionally casual and dismissive attitude among many writers and teachers.

3. Relating to the PLAIN standard style or variety of a language as opposed to more ornate, pedantic, classical, or complex styles and varieties; such a style or variety: What's that in the vernacular?


views updated May 17 2018

vernacular pert. to the native language. XVII. f. L. vernāculus domestic, native, indigenous, f. verna home-born slave; see -AR.
Also sb. XVIII.