Insular Danish

Insular Danish (Danish: Ømål) are the traditional Danish dialects spoken on the islands of Zealand, Langeland, Funen, Falstria, Lolland and Møn. They are recorded in the Dictionary of Danish Insular Danish (Ømålsordbogen)[1] which has been collected since the 1920s, and published in biannual volumes since 1992. There are significant differences between the different insular varieties, but they also share a number of features. A major difference is between modern Danish, and the traditional insular dialects are that some of them lack the stød having instead conserved the tonal accent, and by having conserved three noun genders.[2]


Insular Danish conserved three grammatical genders whereas most other Danish varieties reduced the gender system to two. By 1900 Zealand insular dialects had been reduced to two genders under influence from the standard language, but other varieties like Funen dialect had not. Besides using three genders, the old Insular or Funen dialect, could also use personal pronouns (like he and she) in certain cases, particularly referring to animals.[3] A classic example in traditional Funen dialect is the sentence: "Katti, han får unger", literally The cat, he is having kittens, because cat is a male noun, and thus are referred to as han (he), even if it is female cat.[4]


  1. Ømålsordbogen. En sproglig-saglig ordbog over dialekterne på Sjælland, Møn, Lolland-Falster, Fyn og omliggende øer, 1992 ff. København.
  2. "Ømål". Copenhagen University, Center for Dialect Research.
  3. Arboe, T. (2008). Pronominal repræsentation i danske dialekter. 12. Møde om Udforskningen af Dansk Sprog, 29-38.
  4. "Naveneordernes køn". Copenhagen University, Center for Dialect Research.
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