Vernacular literature

Vernacular literature

Vernacular literature is literature written in the vernacular - the speech of the "common people".

In the European tradition, this effectively means literature not written in Latin. In this context, vernacular literature appeared during the Middle Ages; among the earliest European vernacular literature include Irish literature, Welsh literature, Anglo-Saxon literature and Gothic literature.

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri, in his "De vulgari eloquentia", was possibly the first European writer to argue cogently for the promotion of literature in the vernacular. Important early vernacular works include Dante's "Divine Comedy", Giovanni Boccaccio's "Decameron" (both written in Italian) and Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" (written in English). Indeed Dante's work actually created in part the Italian language.

By extension, the term is also used to describe, for example, Chinese literature not written in classical Chinese and Indian literature after Sanskrit.

Similarly, in Hindu culture, traditionally religious or scholarly works were written in Sanskrit long after its use as a spoken language. With the rise of the bhakti movement from the 1100s onwards, religious works started being created in Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and many other Indian languages thorought the different regions of India. For example, the Ramayana, one of Hinduism's sacred epics in Sanskrit had vernacular versions such as
Ramacharitamanasa", a Hindi version of the Ramayana by the 16th century poet Tulsidas and Kambaramayanam by the poet, Kamban in Tamil.

The term is applied to works not written in the standard and/or prestige language of their time and place. For example, many authors in Scotland, such as James Kelman and Edwin Morgan have used Scots, even though English is now the prestige language of publishing in Scotland. Ngugi wa Thiongo writes in his native Gikuyu language though he previously wrote in English.

In the Philippines, the term basically any written literature in a language other than Filipino ("or Tagalog") or English. At present, it forms the second largest corpus of literature, following the literature in Tagalog. During the Hispanic Colonisation, when Filipino was not yet existing as a national lingua franca, literature in this type flourished. Aside from religious literature, such as the Passiong Mahal (the Passion of Our Lord), zarzuelas were also produced using the vernacular languages


ee also

*Medieval literature

*Ilokano Literature

*Cebuano Literature

*Waray literature


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vernacular architecture — is a term used to categorize methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and… …   Wikipedia

  • Vernacular culture — is a term used in the modern study of geography and cultural studies. It refers to cultural forms made and organised by ordinary people for their own pleasure, in modern societies. Such culture is almost always engaged in on a non profit and… …   Wikipedia

  • Literature — is the art of written works. Literally translated, the word means acquaintance with letters (from Latin littera letter). In Western culture the most basic written literary types include fiction and non fiction.DefinitionsThe word literature has… …   Wikipedia

  • Vernacular — For other uses, see Vernacular (disambiguation). A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or… …   Wikipedia

  • Literature, Burmese /Modern —    Because of Western influences, Burmese literature had undergone great changes by the beginning of the 20th century. One was the appearance of the novel. In the Burmese (Myanmar) language, novel is translated as ka la paw wut htu, the day s… …   Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)

  • Vernacular Chinese — is a style or register of the written Chinese language essentially modeled after the spoken language and associated with Standard Mandarin. This term is not to be confused with the various present day vernacular spoken varieties of Chinese. Since …   Wikipedia

  • LITERATURE, JEWISH — Literature on Jewish themes and in languages regarded as Jewish has been written continuously for the past 3,000 years. What the term Jewish literature encompasses, however, demands definition, since Jews have lived in so many countries and have… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Literature of Burma — The literature of Burma (or Myanmar) spans over a millennium. Burmese literature was historically influenced by Indian and Thai cultures, as seen in many works, such as the Ramayana . The Burmese language, unlike other Southeast Asian languages… …   Wikipedia

  • literature, Scottish —    For many, James Kelman’s Booker Prize victory in 1994 with How Late It Was, How Late and the popularity of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting (published in 1993 and becoming a household name with the 1996 release of a film version) announced the… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

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.