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  5. "En liten by i norra Sverige."

"En liten by i norra Sverige."

Translation:A small village in northern Sweden.

February 23, 2015



Unless you are surrounded by elves and trade in magic beans, you do not live in a "hamlet" to an American.


In Britain, a city has to have 100,000 inhabitants OR a catherdral have been granted city staus. A town has to have 10,000 inhabitants, a village has to have 100 inhabitants ( preferably a Post Office or church), and a hamlet has 11-99 inhabitants. I learned this in Geography GCSE in 2007 so it may have changed since then... I assume that Sweden has similar distinctions.

Several place names in Britain still have 'by' endings (e.g. Grimsby), coming from Old Norse. The term also survives in the words 'by-law' and 'by-election'.


Not so. Hamlets are very common in New York, and it's an official way of describing a settlement of people. It's also very common to read in newspapers in articles and real estate ads descriptions of places as 'a charming hamlet', 'a quiet hamlet', etc.


This sounds like an entirely East Coast phenomenon to me. West of the Mississippi the only 'hamlets' you'll find are in Shakespeare ;).


Yep, I'm in upstate and there's lots of hamlets around here. Usually pretty rural, with a single "main street" kind of area with some old buildings that have shops in them, and then scattered houses.


That "By" means village will take some time getting used to, damn Swedes mixing it all up : P


I guess we'll have to blame medieval Low German for influencing Swedish and making us say stad where Danish and Norwegian still say by to mean city. ;)


Why isn't "town" accepted? In American English we would rarely use "village" and never use "hamlet" no matter how small.


Because that would lead people to believe that you could call a town by in Swedish, but you really can't. This is especially important since the word does mean that in Danish and Norwegian.


Why is this sentence in the section about people?


Because people tend to live in cities or villages.


I actually happened to be speaking to a Swedish friend of mine today about this word (prior to duolingo teaching me it) and she said it's closer to the English word "hamlet"? She said it's maybe around 10 houses usually would qualify a "by".

I grew up in a village in England and that had a few hundred people, is there a different word for village over hamlet and is by more of a village or a hamlet?


To me a "by" is a small village of maybe up to a few hundred people. When it's a slightly bigger village with maybe a town center you could use "ort" or "samhälle".


I have dyslexia, so it was realy tricky to get that hamlet is a bit diffrent thing them helmet.... Traps are everywhere!


I just watched a fascinating video that explained that 'by' is derived from the Old Norse word býr or bǿr meaning 'town' and that when Scandinavian settlers left to make new homes in the British Isles during the Viking era we now have towns named 'Thornaby', 'Helperby', 'Hemsby', etc. leftover.



Interesting, Etymonline says this: Originally an adverbial particle of place, which sense survives in place names (Whitby, Grimsby, etc. which I think means these places were next to or near something? And different from the Norse meaning?

We got the modern term by-law from Norse settlement, and that definitely refers to village law though Etymonline says it was probably influenced by English by as meaning adjacent laws to more general ones. English by derives from proto-Germanic bi “around, about”, from same root as Latin ambi-. If I recall correctly, Swedish by is related to att bo and distantly to English be, in the sense that existing is connected to dwelling.


In Dutch the difference between town (stad ) and village (dorp) is not about the number of people living there but if it got town rights. So there can be very small towns and bigger villages. But most of the time the towns will be bigger. The Hague is a big village and there is a town with only 50 people. I live in a community (I allways call it a village ) with 29.000 inhabitants.


So what rights does a Dutch town have? What can it do that a village can't?


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_privileges In Dutch the answer is much longer and it seems that long long time ago they stopped giving town rights (1800something) as not relevant anymore.


I remember being told that in Britain, a city has a cathedral and a town doesn't, but I have never been clear on the distinction between towns and villages, even though I apparently teach in a rather large village in Illinois.


Oxford Dictionary: "hamlet: a small settlement, generally smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a church".

So you are close @JamesT.Wilson, but it's about the distinction between a hamlet and a village and and it's not about having a cathedral, but a church. (And @klaproosje, in Dutch we would call that a "gehucht".)

Anyhow, in the end I think we might agree: In modern usage we would just say town or village or city, depending on the size of the place, not concerning ourselves with it having a church or not; nor whether it has a medieval charter granting it city rights. (neither whether there is an active trade in magic beans, nor if there is a substantial elvish demographic (...))

In any case it seems the constructors of this course seem to want to stress that in Swedish "by" is a small place. Well, that's fine with me.


Sweden skipped the town right system 1970.


Why do we use "norra" like it's plural in this case?


I gave it some more thought, here is my theory until I hear otherwise. Sverige is a proper noun, so in effect, it is a definite noun referring to a specific thing, despite not being in any definite form. So we use the definite form of adjectives applied to it. This occurred to me after looking at some Swedish place names and realizing that any modifying adjectives are in definite form, e.g. Nya Långenäs, Västra Frölunda, to name a few random ones.


That's quite interesting, and I do not remember it being explained anywhere else. All of the languages that I know that treat definites differently from indefinites (Hungarian and Turkish come to mind) treat proper nouns as definites.


The direction adjectives have shortened forms for definite and proper nouns: norra, södra, östra, västra. I'm not sure if it's still technically valid to use nordligt here, or if anyone would actually do that.


This might be slightly off topic, but why is 'liten' used here? I've seen other variants of the word 'lite' and just want to clarify exactly what type is used where?


Because 'by' is an en-word, and its talking in general terms (indefinite) vs. about a particular village itself (which would be 'lille' I believe)

For example: En liten by (a little village), en liten pojke (a little boy), en liten sked (a little spoon). All of these are en-words.

If the word is an ett-word, it becomes 'litet' - for example: Ett litet barn (a little child), ett litet bord (a little table), ett litet äpple (a little apple).

If its a plural, it becomes små instead.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


You're right.


This sounds right and thank you very much for your response - but I'm not 100% sure myself. I'm also wondering as to the use of 'lite' - Is that just the base word?

Please can someone verify that Emmeline's understanding is correct?


Pretty sure 'lite' is the base word. I'd also like verification on this too.


Lite is used as a measure

Jag vill ha lite vin. I want to have a little (or some) wine.


The word little as an adjective has four forms:

Liten - en liten pojke Litet - ett litet barn Lilla - den lilla pojken - det lilla barnet When "the" is used Små - små pojkar / små barn


Do Swedes say "By" on a daily basis to mean a city or place? Just curious since in America I haven't heard "Village" used often.


We never say it about cities, only about villages or hamlets, but I don't hear it a lot in Swedish either. I guess it could be because I live in a city and don't know anyone who talks a lot about villages.


Why isn't "northern sweden" accepted? Isn't that the exact translation of norra sverige?


If you look on top of this page, you can see that A small village in northern Sweden is the suggested translation. What did you put exactly?


The sentence was "En liten by i norra Sverige", I typed my translation "A little village in the northern Sweden", but it was wrong and "... in north of Sweden" was suggested. Was it because I had "the" in my sentence?


Yes, you can say either in the north of Sweden or in northern Sweden, but you can't mix the two expressions.


I translated 'i norra Sverige' as 'in the north of Sweden' and got dinged!


Why is Sverige sometimes capitalised and sometimes not?


Sverige, like all country names, is always capitalized. Nationality adjectives, however, are not.


So what's the size limit of a By? I am assuming Örnsköldsvik doesn't count


Perhaps a few hundred people.


hoe exactly do Swedes make the "y" sound in "by"? is there a good video for tutorial on it?


Why is "in northern sweden" not correct?


The word is not in this course, but would nordlig work?


En liten - A small why not One small


Why is little not correct? I said "A little village in northern sweden" and they corrected "small". Is there really such a difference?


Oh! Is the 'by' in visby meaning village? Cool!


Beanybadger says, "In Britain, a city has to have 100,000 inhabitants OR a cathedral have been granted city status. A town has to have 10,000 inhabitants, a village has to have 100 inhabitants ( preferably a Post Office or church), and a hamlet has 11-99 inhabitants. I learned this in Geography GCSE in 2007 so it may have changed since then... I assume that Sweden has similar distinctions."

Does Sweden make official distinctions between cities/towns/villages & hamlets? (I have a feeling this level of definiteness might fail the 'lagom' test... )


Does Swedish have the expression "it takes a village"? "Det tar en by"?


Would små be instead of liten ok?


No, små is for plural


Län -> Regioner -> Kommun -> Stad/By -> Stadsdel -> Förort

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