Short, fast and easy to write: what is a supervernacular?

“I’m going to write an article about supervernaculars”. “Superwhat?” This exemplary exchange sums up the majority of the reactions that I have received when announcing the topic of this article.

The term supervernacular is, indeed, not yet a well-known concept even among people who are interested in linguistics. This leaves room for the wildest associations: supervernacular, the language used by superheroes? All wrong.

Similar to many new phenomena of our times, supervernaculars emerged due to the advancing technology, more specifically to technologically mediated communication. The number of people possessing a mobile phone is rising worldwide, now also allowing the “bottom of the income pyramid” to have access to telecommunication. Consequently, more and more people can communicate globally, across physical and sometimes cultural borders by using similar linguistic resources.

Read more: Terminology Coordination

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