Third Conference on Elfdalian

OBS: This is the only English-language page of the website of the Third Conference on Elfdalian. Any other information is provided in Danish only.

The conference
Practical information

The conference

Trið råðstemną um övdalskų (Third Conference on Elfdalian) took place on 7-8 May 2015 at the University of Copenhagen (Campus South, Njalsgade 120, DK-2300 København S, Denmark). The conference was organised by the University of Copenhagen, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, and Kristianstad University.

The First and Second Conference on Elfdalian (2004 and 2008, respectively) were held in Älvdalen and contained academic as well as popularising papers. Contrarily to these, this Third Conference on Elfdalian will accept only academic papers.

Click here to access the programme of the conference as well as abstracts, handouts and video recordings of each talk.


Elfdalian is the most archaic vernacular within Dalecarlian, a group of dialects spoken in great parts of Dalarna, Sweden. In Elfdalian, archaic features such as nasalised vowels, the syllable structure of Old Norse and conjugation of verbs with respect to number and person have been preserved. In contrast to these, Elfdalian also displays a numer of innovations such as loss of h and diphthongisation of long i and u. Besides a number of a Nordic words that have been lost in standard Swedish, Elfdalian contains several specifically Dalecarlian or Elfdalian words, and within syntax one may observe features such as omission of the subject with verbs of the first and second person plural. This combination of old and new is responsible for the unique appearance of Elfdalian and consequently for the unintelligibility of the language for outsiders.

In modern times, Elfdalian is spoken by up to 2,500 people. Due to heavy pressure from standard Swedish, mass media and a school system in which the use of Elfdalian was not allowed, its status as default means of communication in the former parish of Älvdalen (nowadays part of the municipality of Älvdalen) has been severely impaired. Consequently, some of the "classic" features have disappeared. Elfdalian comprises a regional variation between different parts of the former parish and nowadays also a variation between the generations. The linguistic differences between the variants are, however, minor. A good deal of literature has been published in and on Elfdalian, e.g. grammars and dictionaries. In 2005 for the first time ever, a standard Elfdalian orthography was presented.

The society of Ulum Dalska (”We shall speak Elfdalian”) has fought for the survival of Elfdalian for the last 30 years. Nowadays, the society lobbies to introduce Elfdalian in school and to have Elfdalian recognised as an official regional language of Sweden.

Practical information

Location of the conference

Campus South, University of Copenhagen (lecture hall 22.0.111)
Njalsgade 120
DK-2300 København S

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