A rare Nordic language used by a tiny forest community is set to be taught in a preschool in central Sweden. Elfdalian, which shares some similarities with Old Norse is a hot topic at an international linguistics conference in Copenhagen this week, as Scandinavian language experts campaign to stop it dying out.
It might sound like something from Lord of The Rings or The Local’s recent April Fool’s Day prank but Elfdalian is a real language currently used by around 2500 people in central Sweden and is understood to date back to Viking times.
Previously regarded as a Swedish dialect, leading linguistics experts now consider it a separate language and are battling to save it, after figures emerged that less than 60 children can currently speak it.
“Often Norwegians, Danes and Swedes can understand each others’ languages and dialects. But Elfdalian can’t be understood by any Scandinavians apart from the ones that grow up with it, and that is why we consider it a separate language,” Yair Sapir, a linguistics expert who lives in Copenhagen and teaches at Lund University in Sweden told The Local. More.
See: The Local