Elfdalian, the Ancient Viking Forest language of Sweden, set to be revived

Elfdalian served the people of Älvdalen as trade and economic networks were mostly local, and no other languages were necessary

The ancient Viking language of Elfdalian has been almost entirely wiped out, with an estimate of only 3,000 people in a tiny forest community in Sweden currently keeping it alive. Now, people fight to revive the historic tongue by bringing it back to schools and online before it vanishes completely.

The Conversation reports that the ancient dialect of Elfdalian ( älvdalska in Swedish and övdalsk in the language itself) was a vigorous language until well into the 20th century. Sounding to listeners like a beautiful and complex language as spoken by the Elven race in fantasy epics, Elfdalian is actually derived from Old Norse, the language of the Vikings . However, it is radically different from Swedish, writes University of Copenhagen linguist Dr. Guus Kroonen.

He explains that it “sounds like something you would more likely encounter in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings rather than in a remote Swedish forest.”  It can be heard on the video below.

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