vernacular, colloquial

The adjective colloquial is used in reference to language that is common, down-to-earth or typical of a region; it does not indicate an inferior way of speaking.

  • The colloquial phrase “keep an eye out for” may be replaced by “be wary of” in a formal text.
  • Many visitors “from away” find Newfoundlanders’ colloquial expressions delightful.

Vernacular likewise refers to the language of a particular region or to language that is informal. It can be used as an adjective or as a noun.

  • Dandelion is the vernacular term for the Latin Taraxacum officinale.
  • Since the 1960s, the Catholic Mass has been said in the vernacular rather than in Latin.

Vernacular can also be used to mean language that is specific to an occupation.

  • Delia, not being a mathematician, was unfamiliar with the vernacular of mathematics.

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