A single word carrying the connotation or literal meaning of either, "real language" or "official language" that is roughly antonymous with the word vernacular.

To provide more context: I am seeking to use this word to describe a "real language" in the same way that English or Danish is a "real language".

The purpose being to describe a language barrier in a nontraditional sense. For example, if we take the concept of a language barrier and apply it to programming languages or any other domain specific language that already has an established vernacular or jargon associated with it. Such that an outsider to that particular domain could feel as though there is something of a language barrier between themselves and a member of that specific domain.

The end goal is that we can make make the assertion that language barriers don't necessarily apply only to languages as we define them in the form of English or Danish but also to a vernacular or jargon used within a specific domain.

  • 2
    To me at least, "real language" is already synonymous with "vernacular", meaning the real, actual language that people speak; as opposed to the "official language" which is mandated but hardly anyone actually uses. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 1:48
  • Related:Usage of 'vernacular'.
    – jsw29
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:12
  • How did you define language to begin with?
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 7:50
  • @Kris : I'm not offering my own definition of language in and of itself. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that a consensus on the definition of language such as one that might be found in a dictionary was given. What I am lacking is a word that carries the connotation that English or Danish is more so a language as well as better adhering to what most would consider language than is javascript, for example. One might consider that such a language is a "real language" when comparing it to another language, such as javascript, that is less conforming to the generally accepted idea of language.
    – Rick
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 11:12
  • 1
    You obviously have not thought about "natural language (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_language)." All that you need to distinguish is call English and Danish "natural languages" and then look here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_%28disambiguation%29 ; While at it, look also here: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/language ; britannica.com/topic/language ; and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language. Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


Having been chastised for not answering the Question title I offer the word single word


as the barrier between languages whatever their locality shape or form.

For prior usage see here https://english.stackexchange.com/a/391117/322168

My original answer to the initial question still holds that in one word any Language is "real language" In a week from now our conversation may appear to some as vernacular, but who knows?

English, double-dutch Esperanto Fortran Basic... in their own right they are all real languages but you can call them vernacular if you wish, that's the beauty of languages they are forever changing without bounds or barriers the only frontier is idiomatic translation.

Language moves on, an'on.

The Moving Finger taps; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

  • See also my comment at OP.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 11:23
  • KJO You're right, too. I've added a comment at OP.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 8:45
  • This doesn’t address the OP’s request for a synonym for language barrier.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 5:00
  • Thanks, and excellent choice. It's even common to speak of 'idioms' of specific programming languages, such as if (!x) do-something in C to test for (a non-boolean) x being non-zero.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 5:48

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