Like the fact that in the middle of Swedish Sweden lives a group of elves who speak a different language. Bad joke. According to some studies that were summarized in an SVD article, Elfdalian is the English translation of Älvdalska, a language spoken by 2400 people, only 45 of whom are younger than 45.
That the language can be found in Dalarna, the home of the occasional peasant uprising in Swedish history, the home of enough red summer cottages to make a German piddle, the home of large painted horses, is even more intriguing to me.
It is here I would expect Swedish Swedish. The kind of Swedish that would make those peasant rebels all misty eyed. Instead, the Nordic regions least spoken Germanic language can be found.
I like being able to speak a language that is only spoken by about nine or ten million people. I like my chances if I decide to talk about someone outside of these borders. But that was nine or ten million. A language whose speakers only number in the thousands, about 2400, wins. The language is considered threatened. Which seems like a bit of an understatement. I’ve been in classes with more than 45 people who were under the age of 15, and trust me… they should not be trusted with the preservation of an endangered language.
Luckily, there happens to be a grant for children and teenagers who promise to speak Älvdalska in every situation possible. Not sure how this would be trapped, but I’m sure your personnummer has something to do with it.
Welcome to Sweden. And endangered languages.