Vulgar Latin

popular Latin, as distinguished from literary or standard Latin, esp. those spoken forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Abbr.: VL
[1810-20]

* * *

      spoken form of non-Classical Latin from which originated the Romance (Romance languages) group of languages. Vulgar Latin was primarily the speech of the middle classes in Rome and the Roman provinces; it is derived from Classical Latin but varied across Roman-occupied areas according to the extent of education of the population, communication with Rome, and the original languages of the local populations. As the Roman Empire disintegrated and the Christian Church became the chief unifying force in southern and western Europe, communication and education declined and regional variation in pronunciation and grammar increased until gradually, after about 600, local forms of Vulgar Latin were no longer mutually intelligible and were thereafter to be considered separate Romance languages. As the ancestor of the Romance languages, Vulgar Latin is also sometimes called Proto-Romance, although Proto-Romance most often refers to hypothetical reconstructions of the language ancestral to the modern Romance languages rather than to the Vulgar Latin that is known from documents.

      Written materials in Latin almost always make use of Classical Latin forms; hence, written documentation of Vulgar Latin is uncommon. Modern knowledge of the language is based on statements of Roman grammarians concerning “improper” usages, and on a certain number of inscriptions and early manuscripts, “lapses” in the writings of educated authors, some lists of “incorrect” forms and glossaries of Classical forms, and occasional texts written by or for persons of little education. Beyond this, early texts in the Romance languages (beginning in the 9th century) often throw light on earlier usages. All of these sources, used with some caution, have made it possible to piece together the structure and vocabulary of Vulgar Latin with some exactness.

      Among the most useful texts in or containing Vulgar Latin are the Peregrinatio Etheriae (“Pilgrimage of Etheria”), apparently written in the 4th century by an uneducated Spanish nun, and the Appendix Probi (“Appendix of Probus”), a list of correct and incorrect word forms dating perhaps from as early as the 3rd century. See also Latin language. (Latin language)

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vulgar Latin — (in Latin, sermo vulgaris , folk speech ) is a blanket term covering the popular dialects and sociolects of the Latin language which diverged from each other in the early Middle Ages, evolving into the Romance languages by the 9th century. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Vulgar Latin — n. the everyday speech of the Roman people, from which the Romance languages developed; popular Latin as distinguished from standard or literary Latin …   English World dictionary

  • vulgar Latin — ► NOUN ▪ informal Latin of classical times …   English terms dictionary

  • Vulgar Latin — noun nonclassical Latin dialects spoken in the Roman Empire; source of Romance languages • Hypernyms: ↑Low Latin * * * ˌvulgar ˈLatin 7 [vulgar Latin] noun uncountable the spoken form of Latin which wa …   Useful english dictionary

  • Vulgar Latin — Vul′gar Lat′in n. peo popular Latin, as distinguished from literary or standard Latin, esp. those spoken forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed Abbr.: VL • Etymology: 1810–20 …   From formal English to slang

  • Vulgar Latin — /vʌlgə ˈlætn/ (say vulguh latn) noun popular Latin, as opposed to literary or standard Latin, especially those forms of popular Latin speech from which sprang the Romance languages of later times …   Australian English dictionary

  • Vulgar Latin — noun The Latin language as spoken by the Roman people, as opposed to Classical Latin as written in formal literature until about 4c. See Also: Vulgate …   Wiktionary

  • Vulgar Latin — noun Date: 1643 the nonclassical Latin of ancient Rome including the speech of plebeians and the informal speech of the educated established by comparative evidence as the chief source of the Romance languages …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • vulgar Latin — noun informal Latin of classical times …   English new terms dictionary

  • Vulgar Latin vocabulary — is the vocabulary of Vulgar Latin, i.e. the everyday level of the Classical and Late Antique Latin language. Historical overview Like all languages, Latin possessed numerous synonyms that were associated with different speech registers. Some of… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.