Old Gutnish was spoken in the Island of Gotland (the current Sweden). It is an Old Norse dialect. It was spoken by the vikings who lived there during the medieval times. Gutnish is still spoken today by a number of people in the island. The Gutnish that is currently used is a mixture of Old Gutnish and Modern Gutnish. Most of the words from Modern Gutnish have been derived from Old Gutnish. Even though linguists recognize Gutnish as an independent language, the Sweden government has not received official recognition from the Swedish government. This has led to various movements that have served to urge the people in Gotland to preserve their cultural heritage and promote their language so that Gutnish can receive the recognition it deserves.
The root word ‘Gut’ is related to Gothic and most linguists have suggested that Gutnish has a lot of similarities to the Gothic language. Therefore, it has been proposed that Gutnish is more closely related to the Gothic language than any other language. Old Gutnish is also related to Old Norwegian, Old Icelandic, Old Danish and Old Swedish. Gutnish had a writing system during the medieval times. This was until the 17th century before other languages like Danish and Swedish became more dominant. Since the 18th century, Gutnish became more of a spoken language rather than a written language. Only a few written literature have been discovered. This was mainly due to the fact that Swedish became the official language of communication and writing.
Currently, Gutnish is not very highly regarded. Most parents are not teaching their children the language nor are they encouraging them to learn it. Most young people consider the language to be unmodern and in most cases they are ashamed to even speak it. Most speakers are elderly. The language is not taught in schools. Often, you will not hear anyone speaking Gutnish fluently. Mostly, the spoken language is a mixture of Swedish and Gutnish. The language is mainly used in private environments such as at home and among older family members. Old Gutnish falls under the Indo-European family of languages.