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Vernacular Language Essay

According to the dictionary, vernacular refers to the native language of a country. Throughout Rome, the language that was used was Latin; it was used throughout the Mediterranean and became the dominant language. Widely used by people with power, kings and queens. Latin was used as the formal language used in government and politics, this all changed during the 12th century when vernacular language started to become increasingly popular. During the Renaissance, Europe was undergoing a transformation. Cultural change occurs when there is a change in language or idea. During these times, people were interested in intellectual exploration.

It was during this time that people felt that only highly educated people knew Latin. Bringing about a vernacular language was a way that they felt the need to educate the ordinary people. It was during this time that they began the transformation into the vernacular language. Up until the 17th century, most scholarly works were said to be in Latin. During the 12th century, many literary works were subject to translating. Most of the time the person translating would change things, they were not concerned with the ending, only how they have changed the various pieces into art.

The development of the printing press and other technological advances was thought to be a method that sped up the process of spreading vernacular language. During this time, people who were economically disadvantaged could now read and own a bible. The use of vernaculars was thought of as a way to convert the non-believers. The spread of Christianity proved to be a method for spreading vernacular language. Petrarch was thought of as one of the most important figures of this time. He criticized the habits of the culture and believed their ideas were ancient soon others followed and this brought about the birth of humanism.

Humanism was based on the belief that the philosophical works of Ancient Greece and Rome provided the best guide for living. Humanism was believed to be founded on three teachings humanistic studies, moral philosophy, and the qualities that make men and women good. Women played an important role in the spread of vernacular language, noble women insisted that literature was either written or translated to vernacular. Women began to assert their role as preservers of history. (Mccash, 2008) Most women had limited education so they were not proficient in Latin, this led to the acceptance of Romance and Germanic vernaculars.

Women were given a chance to express themselves and participate in courtly debates. Women played a huge role in the transformation from clergy to court. (McCash, 2008) Women felt a sense of power by the rise of vernacular language; they began to write poetry, some even became translators. In the 13th century, Margery Kemp wrote the first autobiography in the English language. “Women turned to literature to express their pain and suffering, their longing and their loss, and their beliefs and vision” (McCash, 2008)


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