Le Vernaculaire: A Brief Lexical History in French [chapter]

Christina Kullberg
2018 World Literatures: Exploring the Cosmopolitan-Vernacular Exchange  
This chapter proposes to trace French early modern understandings of the word vernacular in order to see what kinds of conceptual possibilities lie in the very history of the word. The investigation takes its cue from what could be identified as a quest for the moment of emergence of literatures within recent theories of world literature, a search in which the notion of the vernacular has come to play a crucial role. Alexander Beecroft argues that "a language is a dialect with a literature" and
more » ... that the process of language emerging through and with the creation of literature is best described in terms of vernacularisation. 1 Following Sheldon Pollock, he suggests that vernacularisation translates into "the historical process of choosing to create a written literature, along with its compliment, a political discourse, in local languages according to models supplied by superordinate, usually cosmopolitan, literary culture". 2 Some 15 years earlier Pascale Casanova made a similar case. Taking the European (or more precisely the French) history as her point of departure, she claims that vernacularisation is mainly economically motivated since it occurred at
doi:10.16993/bat.c fatcat:detmhw6qyvfr5ji2ueajmv2zne