Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 11:36:59 -0800

From: Peter Richardson prichard[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]LINFIELD.EDU

Subject: Re: vernacular

I took up Ellen Johnson's request the other day, asking my students via

email to send me their definitions of _vernacular_ without having

consulted a dictionary. About 1/2 the class did so, or at least said that

they didn't know what it meant. The results, which don't include (unsent)

contributions from some who I'm sure do have a workable and believable

definition at hand:

Seven students had no idea what it meant.

Quotes from the rest:

I think the word vernacular means to understand something very well.

It reminds me of varnish or shellac--something associated with pottery

that makes it shiny or something like that.

I think that this word is used to describe how words are vocally


A clear sound or voice. A tone that is pleasing to the ear.

Used interchangeably with _jargon_

I've heard it in the following context: "In a vernacular sense"

I send this not as an "O tempora, o morons" plaint, but as a simple

contribution to Ellen's article.

Peter Richardson