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The Impact of the Vernacular on Language and Culture

Until the twelfth century, Latin was the language used among the educated and within literature. Research and report on the origins of vernacular language, and its spread. Assess and evaluate the impacts the spread of vernacular languages on cultures during this period.

It is no surprise that Latin had such a huge impact on the medieval world. Latin owes its dominance to the rise of the Roman Empire from several hundred years B.C. to its demise around 1200 A.D. Throughout the time that it reigned supreme, at least in the Western World, Rome exported not only its values, architecture, law and art but also its language. Where the empire reigned so too did its language. When the empire began to fall apart the Latin language began to lose its choke hold on the peoples of Europe and North Africa. Since the empire began shrinking as early as the 8th or 9th century it is not surprising that those people who lived farthest from Rome itself were the first ones to undergo a cultural and ethnic revival. An integral component of this revival would be the use of their vernacular language rather than the use of Latin.

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It is no surprise that Latin had such a huge impact on the medieval world. Latin owes its dominance to the rise of the Roman Empire from several hundred years B.C. to its demise around 1200 A.D. Throughout the time that it reigned supreme, at least in the Western World, Rome exported not only its values, architecture, law and art but also its language. Where the empire ruled so too did its language. When the empire began to fall apart the Latin language began to lose its choke hold on the peoples of Europe and North Africa. Since the empire began shrinking as early as the 8th or 9th century it is not surprising that those people who lived farthest from Rome itself were the first ones to undergo a cultural and ethnic revival. An integral component of this revival would be the use of their vernacular language rather than the use of Latin.

Examples of casting off the Roman Latin in favor of the vernacular abound. In England this occurs in the 9th century under the influence of Alfred the Great. During his reign many books were written in Old English. These include religious commentaries, history and Biblical texts. Other examples of English vernacular are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Beowulf. There are also examples of the vernacular being used along with Latin charters describing rights ...

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This is a discussion about how vernacular languages displaced Latin and impacted medieval culture. Over 850 words of original text along with websites where additional information can be found.

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