Dalecarlian dialects

Native to Sweden
Region Dalarna County
Native speakers
1,500 (1996)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguist list
dlc (retired ISO code)
Glottolog dale1238[2]

Dalecarlian (Dalmål in vernacular and Swedish) is a group of dialects or unofficial languages spoken in Dalecarlia (Dalarna), Sweden. They are mutually unintelligible with Swedish.[3] The most well known outside the area is Elfdalian.

Dalecarlian takes up an intermediate position between East Nordic (Swedish-Danish) and West Nordic (Norwegian). Glottolog classifies it as part of Macro-Swedish (along with Swedish proper, Jamtska and Scanian) within East Nordic, while Kroonen () cites number of features that Elfdalian in particular shares with West Nordic.[4]


Upper Dalecarlia is divided into three geographical areas; Västerdalarna, Uvosiljan (Upper Siljan) and Nidåsiljan (Lower Siljan), each parish having its own Dalecarlian dialect(s). Uvosiljan is then divided into seven dialects; Elfdalian (Evmol or Övmål), Orsamål or Orsmol, Vuomusmål or Wåmusmol, Wänåsmål, Mormål, Sooldmol and Örmol. Sooldmål, Wänåsmål and Vuomusmål often used to be included in Mormål, even if Vuomusmål is more reminiscent of Elfdalian. Probably due to historical summer pasture culture, Örmål is more closely related to Mormål rather than Orsmol, even though Ore is geographically closer to Orsa.

The three main dialects of the Dalecarlian language, Övkallmål or Övdalską (Elfdalian), Mormål and Orsmol are closely related to each other, but usually not mutually intelligible. Mutual intelligibity diminishes as one goes forth to the surrounding dialects of Rettvik, Leksand, Särna or neighbouring province Hälsingland. It is therefore more correct to specify these three together to constitute the Dalecarlian language, whilst Elfdalian or Övmål is one of the three main dialects and traditionally all three may be divided into village dialects. Traditionally, in some of the major Mora villages such as Östnor, Bonäs or Vika, several different dialects were discernible within the same village, the differences between these internal dialects surviving for generations.

The closest form to the old Dalecarlian dialects is spoken only in the Upper Siljan area and most remarkably in Älvdalen. The lower Dalecarlian dialects are intermediates between this language and Standard Swedish.

It should be noted that Dalecarlian is not spoken in the northern two-thirds of Älvdalen municipality, i.e. the parishes Särna and Idre; the local language there is a dialect of eastern Norwegian.

See also


  1. Dalecarlian at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Dalecarlian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Zach, Kristine (2013) Das Älvdalische - Sprache oder Dialekt? Masters thesis, University of Vienna.
  4. Kroonen, Guus. "On the origins of the Elfdalian nasal vowels from the perspective of diachronic dialectology and Germanic etymology" (PDF). Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics. University of Copenhagen. Retrieved 27 January 2016. "In many aspects, Elfdalian, takes up a middle position between East and West Nordic. However, it shares some innovations with West Nordic, but none with East Nordic. This invalidates the claim that Elfdalian split off from Old Swedish."
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