I'm listening to a podcast about American truckers' life. The first episode introduces the names that truckers use to call the different trucks. For example:

  • "reefer trucks": refrigerator freight trucks
  • "skateboards": big flat trailers with loads of lumber and steel
  • "parking lots": car haulers
  • "tanker yanker": a tanker truck

One trucker in the episode said "I mean, there's all kinds of terminology for'em" so I know I can use the word "terminology" to describe these names that probably only truckers use.

But I'm wondering if the word "vernacular" or "jargon" can be used, too. If they can, what's the difference between them?

I see "vernacular" is defined as follows:

the form of a language that a particular group of speakers use naturally, especially in informal situations

This explanation (along with the other explanations on the same page) doesn't say that "vernacular" is restricted to the people from the same region. It can refer to the language spoken by the people from a particular region, but the dictionary also says it can refer to the language by a particular group. In my case, that is the group of the truckers.

I see "jargon" is defined as follows:

special words and phrases that are used by particular groups of people, especially in their work.

It looks like "jargon" is a better fit because it seems to be specifically about "particular groups of people" "in their work". All the names I mentioned above are used by truckers when they talk about their work.

In sum, my questions are:

  • In addition to "terminology", can I use "vernacular" or "jargon" to describe the names of the trucks that truckers call them?
  • What's the difference between "vernacular" and "jargon"? It seems "vernacular" has a larger scope than "jargon" because "vernacular" can be the language of people from either a region or a group, while "jargon" is more associated with people's profession.

I also looked at these questions:

However, they all mention "vernacular" and "jargon" but none of them seem to compare these two words specifically.

  • 4
    You are right that jargon is the appropriate word for the private language of people in a a particular occupation. Sep 23 at 15:20
  • If you look carefully at the definition for "vernacular" you'll see it is "the form of a language". It is more about differences in how a group speaks compared to the "standard" form of a language than just terminology. There is also "vernacular" architecture, for example. This is one example of vernacular English from Huckleberry Finn What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and it ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?
    – ColleenV
    Sep 23 at 15:39
  • As shown by this NGram, the word vernacular very often occurs in the expression in the vernacular. Where it always means informal, colloquial speech. Not at all the same as jargon, which just means the specific usages peculiar to a commercial, academic, or other group (orthogonal to "colloquial", often just meaning "industry-specific terminology" that's meaningless to people not in that business). Sep 23 at 15:44
  • 2
    I think the distinction here could be easily be established using online dictionaries. Sep 23 at 15:45
  • 1
    @ColleenV: Well, we might perhaps make some inferences from the fact that Mark Twain is right up there with Oscar Wilde and Winston Churchill as "people to whom most memorable turns of phrase are attributed" (which isn't an attribute I'd naturally associate with, say, Charles Dickens, even though he had a lot of characters speaking in "the common tongue"). Whatever - I'm sure we both agree that Twain's writings epitomise vernacular language, not jargon. Sep 23 at 17:02

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