July 5, 2022

Älvdalenska or älvdalsmål (övdalsk, övkallmą̊, dalska) is a Nordic language variety spoken by about 2,000–2,500 speakers in Älvdalen parish in northern Dalarna in Sweden. Älvdalskan is closely related to nearby above-Siljan targets such as Våmhusmål and Orsamål, which together branched out from Old Norse in the early 800s and latest 14th centuries. Älvdalskan is characterized by a number of archaisms and novations. Among other things, älvdalskan has preserved an older case system, the Old Norse syllable quantity system with short, long and overlong syllables. It has also preserved sounds such as [w] and [ð], and has also, as the only Nordic variety, preserved the nasal vowels of Old Norse. Älvdalskan has also undergone major sound changes and changes in theorem. Among the changes, older long vowels have been diphthongized, and the primary Nordic diphthongs have been monophthonged or developed into other diphthongs. Älvdalskan and the other upper-syllable goals are not mutually intelligible with Swedish, Norwegian or Danish, but are largely understandable among themselves. Traditionally, Ovansiljan residents have used their mother tongue within Ovansiljan, while they have switched to Swedish when visiting e.g. Rättvik or Malung outside Ovansiljan. Speakers of Älvdalska and other upper Silicon dialects are thus bilingual and code-switches between “Dalska” and Swedish. During the 20th century, älvdalskan has undergone an equalization in the national language direction, and for each generation it is approaching standard Swedish more and more, which has led to a more Swedish-Swedish pronunciation, a simplification of the morphology (including fewer cases), and more. Several researchers therefore distinguish between classical älvdalska, traditional älvdalska and modern älvdalska. Älvdalska has no status as a minority language in Sweden according to the Language Act (2009: 600). In the autumn of 2015, ten linguists submitted an application to SIL International to give Älvdalskan an ISO 639-3 code on Ethnologue. A critical comment on this application was submitted by the Institute for Languages ​​and Folk Memories, the authority in Sweden that, among other things, handles questions about dialects, but on 27 May 2016, the application was granted (following an appeal). Distribution and varieties

Number of speakers

At Oðer råðstemną um övdalskų (Second conference on älvdalska) in 2008, Gösta Larsson, together with Bengt and Ulla Welin, presented an estimate of the number of speakers of älvdalska based on questionnaires collected by various “village representatives” around Älvdalen parish. These showed that about 1700 residents in the parish could speak älvdalska, which is about 34% of the population. In addition, they estimate that about 1300 in the parish can understand, but not speak älvdalska. 2000 in the parish can neither understand nor speak älvdalska. They also estimate the number of speakers of Älvdalska outside the parish to be around 700. They therefore estimate that around 2,500 people spoke Älvdalska in 2008. In the ages over 50 years, the proportion of River Valley speakers was 60%, in the ages between 15 and 50 the number was 20%. In children and young people under 15, only 5% could speak Älvdalska, which corresponds to 45 people. The same survey also shows that the number of Älvdalsk speakers is generally highest in the peripheral villages, and lowest in the church village. In the church village, only 14% spoke Älvdalska, which corresponds to 186 people, compared to more peripheral villages such as Brunnsberg or Åsen, with 64% (or 145 people) and 57% (or 182 people) speaking Älvdalskalei. Helgander in 1991 which showed a total of 1652 speakers, of which 179 under 20 years. However, this survey did not include as many villages as in Larsson and Welin's estimate, and was supplemented in 2004 by Gunnar Nyström with another 668 speakers in the villages that Helgander did not survey. In total, the number of River Valley speakers decreased by 37% in the villages Helgander surveyed