Gutnish

Hi, guys! So, turns out that running 21km (13 miles) will really take it out of you – so I didn’t do my catch up on Sunday and missed yesterday’s A to Z post as well. But, oh well, I’m back on form today (mostly) and I’m going to catch up where I can.

This means, of course, that I’m somewhat behind, but I’m trucking on with my G post – which in this case, stands for the language Gutnish!

Gutnish | A-Z of Endangered Languages | 学习Sprachen

Gutnish (also known as Gotlandic or Gutamål), is a definitely endangered Scandinavian language spoken by around 5,000 people (Moseley, 2010) on the islands of Gotland and Fårö, Sweden. There are many arguments as to whether Gutnish is in fact classified as a language or a dialect; although it comes from Old Gutnish, which was a dialect of Old Norse that differentiated from Old West Norse and Old East Norse enough to be classified as a language (Wikipedia, 2016), Gutnish has been influenced so significantly by Swedish that it could be considered a dialect of the language.

Although there are purported to be around 5,000 speakers of the language, it seems likely that this figure has been inflated (Moseley, 2010) and it seems that knowledge of the language among Gotlanders is weak. Gutnish does not appear to be taught in schools or be recognised as an official minority language, presumably due to the issues classifying it as such. However, there are some efforts being made to revive the traditional form of Gutnish, with the Gutnish Language Guild (Gutamålsgillet) organising, among other things, a course in conjunction with Uppsala University, an iPhone app with a Gutnish glossary, and a research group to promote research into the language (Gutamål Gillet, 2016).

It would appear that, despite a lack of governmental help, there are some inspiring efforts underway to help preserve and develop Gutnish futher. However, progress may be hindered by the language/dialect issue and the comparative usefulness of Swedish. Hopefully the language will remain, but it seems likely that it will never be used on a large scale again.

References

Gutamål Gillet, 2016. Gutamålsgillet >> Historia. Available at: http://www.gutamal.org/gutamalsgillet/historia/. [Accessed 12 April 2016]. [SWE]

Moseley, C., ed., 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Online version: http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas.

Wikipedia, 2016. Old Gutnish. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Gutnish. [Accessed 12 April 2016].

Further Reading

Just Gutnish: WordPress blog.

Gutnish: WordPress blog with links to more reading in English.

gutnish.imess.net: Website with info about Gutnish and a word list.

gutnish.weebly.com: Website with info about Gutnish: word list, maps, language policy etc.

Verbix Languages: Gutnish.

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