Swedish, Gammelsvenskby

Fact corner


Swedish Gammelsvenskby is a Swedish vernacular? spoken in Zmiyivka village, Kherson Oblast, Ukraine. Today, the village has 150-200 people who share a Swedish cultural heritage. Only a few of them still speak the Swedish dialect fluently and German is often used instead.

The population of Gammalsvenskby traces its origins back to Hiiumaa (Swedish: Dagö) in present-day Estonia, once a part of the Realm of Sweden (In this part of Estonia they still speak a Swedish dialect). Under the reign of Catherine II of Russia, the Swedish-speaking population left the island in August 1781. With the promise of being granted fertile land, they were relocated to the south of Ukraine, used as colonists in territory conquered from the Ottoman Empire.

Swedish languages

[Edit] There are many variants of standard Swedish. Some of these are considered dialects and other as separate languages.

The verb

The samples are based on field work done in the beginning of the 20th century.

  • No conjugation by person
  • Conjugation by number (singular/plural) only in present tense
  • Conjuctive present is formed with the auxiliary verb ha
  • Conjunctive past if formed with auxiliary skilt

Sample verbs

Weak verb, 1st group

boka = to bake

Person Present Imperfect Imperative
Sg.1 bokar boka -
Sg.2 boka!
Sg.3 -
Pl.1 boka bokom!
Pl.2 boke!
Pl.3 -

Strong verb, 1st group

bit = to bite

Person Present Imperfect Imperative
Sg.1 biter beit -
Sg.2 bit!
Sg.3 -
Pl.1 bit bitom!
Pl.2 bite!
Pl.3 -


  • Karlgren, Anton: Gammalsvenskby. Uttal och böjninmg i gammalsvenskbymålet. Stockholm 1953. Med kommentarer utgivet av Nils Tiberg.(Svenska Landsmål och svenskt folkliv, bilaga).

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