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Lingua vulgaris
(869 words)

1. Concept

The concept of “vulgar language” can only be meaningfully defined in the context of its cultural chronology. The adjective “vulgar” derived from the Latin vulgaris (“of the common people,” “widespread”; cf. also Vernacular), and accordingly originally carried the sense of “common” or “usual.” The Latin sermo/lingua vulgaris denoted “common speech/tongue,” that is, the general colloquial language of the ordinary, illiterate population of the Roman Empire. In some contexts, the Latin noun vul…

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Haarmann, Harald, “Lingua vulgaris”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 18 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_029919>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801



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