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'.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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... )