What was the vernacular spoken language in 13th century Naples? A precursor to modern Neapolitan?

  • 2
    I'm fairly certain that it was a precursor of modern Neapolitan, but it might be hard to find a good reference for it.
    – Denis Nardin
    May 14, 2018 at 8:48
  • 4
    This web site explains how some works written in Latin were translated into Neapolitan in the 13th century.
    – Charo
    May 14, 2018 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


As I answered here, in Italy, in XIII century, the spoken language was the vernacular language, the “official” language was Latin.
Latin remained in use in written documents and among a minority of educated persons, mostly priests and monks of the Catholic Church, who probably used it often as a spoken language.
Obviously, through Italy there were a lot of different shades of vernacular language. The non-sporadic written use of the vernacular language begins in the thirteenth century, in Naples later, in the fourteenth century.

You can find more detailed information at this link.

  • Hoogland p. 6 says: That St. "Thomas [Aquinas] preached on the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Ten Commandments in the vernacular (in vulgari, Italian)". Is it proper to say Italian = "Latin in vulgari"?
    – Geremia
    Apr 20, 2019 at 18:27
  • 1
    @Geremia: I am not sure what you mean by "Latin in vulgari", but the Italian vulgars were new languages, early forms of present-day Italian dialects
    – DaG
    Apr 20, 2019 at 20:21
  • @Geremia: as DaG said, Italian vulgars were new languages, and even if in Italy until recently (but also in our days) there are people who pray in Latin, St. Thomas preached in the Neapolitan vernacular dialect, that was his mother tongue. Latin and Italian vulgars were different languages.
    – user5372
    Apr 26, 2019 at 8:17
  • @Geremia, in case you want to fully understand the difference between Latin and vernacular, you can read the "Cantico Delle Creature" by San Francesco d'Assisi: it is one of the first works written in the vernacular and is similar to the Italian of our days.
    – user5372
    Apr 26, 2019 at 8:35
  • 1
    @DaniChi Yes, thanks. I have read that for a class for my Italian minor years ago. It actually got me interested in learning Latin (I learned Latin after Italian).
    – Geremia
    Apr 26, 2019 at 18:57

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