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This article treats vernacular language; see also vernacular architecture.

The vernacular is the standard native language of a country or locality. In previous centuries scholarly work in western Europe was typically written in Latin, so the unusual works written in a native language (such as Italian or German) were said to be in the vernacular. Important early vernacular works include Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (both written in Italian) and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (written in English).

In more recent times, the phrase has also been applied to works that have been written to emulate the everyday speech of the middle class or the working class. Sometimes, this means that slang and colloquial speech is included. Such material may also use different rules of grammar than more academic writings.

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