Alternative name(s):

Language family: Indoeuropean

Language group: Germanic

Geographical use: Gutamål is spoken on the island of Gotland (in the Baltic sea). The people of Gotland are known as "gutar", hence "gutamål", "language of gutar".

Information: Gutamål is considered a Swedish dialect, although it might possibly be justified to call it a specific Nordic language, when one considers the great differences between Old Gutamål on the one hand and Old Swedish and Old Danish on the other hand. Some people claim it has got links with the now exinct languages from the east-germanic language group. But most people believe that it belongs to the northern germanic group.

The most important written source of Gutamål is the medieval "Gutalagen (which also includes "Gutasaga"). There are also about 300 rune stones with Old Gutamål inscriptions, which date back even further. The language on the rune stones is very similar to other Nordic runestones. What is typical here is the use of "diphthongs" (e.g. "raisa stain" instead of "resa sten".) On Gotland the use of diphthongs still remains to this day, whereas the diphthongs were replaced by single vowels in mainland Swedish already in the middle ages.

Each consonant is pronounced individually, so that words such as stjärna and skjuta, are pronounced in an archaic way, compared to modern Swedish.


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