Remnants of Cases & Genders in Swedish

in icelandic and faroese the cases and genders still remain, and basically the first word of a compound has its ending changed to genitive etc. (and depending on the word’s gender) when put in a compound word. prepositions also decide which case the related words go into, so ex. till would govern genitive case, which often added an -s to the end of the word, as in “till havs – to sea” but directly translated is “to sea‘s“.

when i was newer to sweden/swedish i went to SFI (Swedish For Immigrants) and asked my teacher if they had a list of words that did this so i could just learn them since i already knew some icelandic and it was easier, and she didn’t know what i was talking about and i never got any sort of list. when i search online i don’ really find anything either. so i started making my own, hopefully this can eventually help other learners of swedish out.
a to e (this change was present occasionally in words, just like the below):
hjĂ€rta – hjĂ€rtevĂ€n
vĂ€tska – vĂ€tskebalans
tal – talekonst
önska – önskemĂ„l (“wish item/subject”, wish)
högskola – högskoleprovet (the university/polytechnic/etc. test)

a to ö, o, or u: (this used to happen depending on the ending or case of the word – ex. “barn” child, “börn” children, “hjarta” heart, “hjörtu” heart, go learn icelandic or old norse if you want to know more)
kyrka – kyrkogĂ„rd (“church yard”, cemetary), kyrkoruiner (“church ruins”, church-ruins)
saga – sagoö (“saga island” story-like island)
mĂ€nniska – mĂ€nniskoapa (“human-ape”, humans)
kvinna – kvinnokarl (“woman-man”, womanizer/lady’s-man)
vecka – veckobad (“week-bath”, weekly bath), veckouppdatering (weekly updating)
gata – gatumat (“street-food”, streetfood)
Falun? – falukorv (type of large sausage – anyway, this requires knowing the origin of the name Falun and I don’t)


hav – till havs (to sea, ex. out to sea), hav – havsnivĂ„ (sea’s level), havsströmmar (sea’s currents)
fot – till fots (“to foot”, on foot)
sjö – till sjöss (yes, two s’s, although more rarely apparently it’s spelt with one s)

nĂ€ring – nĂ€ringsrik
vandring – vandringsled (“wandering’s-lead”, nature trail)
nötning – utnötningskrig (war of attrition)

land – fastlandsdjurlivet (“stuck-land’s-animal-the life”; the mainland animal life); finlandssvenskar (finland’s-swedes)
vatten – saltvattensgölar
bostad – bostadsbrist (“reside-place’s-lack”, housing shortage), bostadsrĂ€tt (“residence-right”, a condo)
hand – förstahandskontrakt (first-hand’s-contract), andrahandskontrakt
mĂ€rke – mĂ€rkesvaror (brand’s-wares)
stĂ„nd – avstĂ„ndstagande (off-stand’s-taking)
vĂ€vnad – vĂ€vnadssvaghet (woven’s-weakness)
prestation – prestationsförmĂ„ga
levnad – levnadsstandard (liven’s-standard)
timmar – en Ă„ttatimmars arbetsdag (an eight-hour’s work’s-day). maybe this is just me not being fluent in Swedish, but I also think this should actually be one word as they are all nouns.
arbete – arbetsdag (work’s-day)
fĂ€rd – lĂ„ngfĂ€rdsskridsko (long-trip’s-glide-shoe, type of “nordic/touring” ice skate where the blades are easily removable since you’ll be walking in-between skating since you’re skating in natural areas and not man-made paths)
luft – FriluftsfrĂ€mjandet (free-air’s-(put) forthing), a committee that deals with outdoor sports and weather.
moder – modersmĂ„l (mother language), modersmjölk (mother’s milk), modersbröst (mother’s breast)
bete – betesmark “pasture(‘s)-land”
Ă„r – Ă„rstid “year’s time”, meaning season
strid – stridskrĂ€ft “battle’s-power”, an armed force
paper – papperstallrikar (paper plates)
skydd – skyddsrum “protection’s room”, a saferoom, a shelter
dag – vardagsrum (“everyday’s room”, living room)
liv – livshotande (“life’s-threatening”), livsfara (“live’s danger”, a risk to one’s life)
het – tvĂ„sprĂ„kighetsforskningen (“two-language-ness’s-research-the”, the research on bilingualism); ensprĂ„kighetsnormen (one-language-ly-ness’s-norm-the; the monolingual norm)
vĂ€rld – vĂ€rldsbildsutvecklingen (world’s-picture’s-out-folding-the; the evolution/development of a world view)
bild – vĂ€rldsbildsutvecklingen
begrepp – begreppsutvecklingen (make-grip’s-out-folding-the; the evolution/development of a concept/idea)
del – delsbo (“part’s-reside”, to live apart from ex. a spouse); handelssprĂ„k (commercial/trade-language); handelsagent (commercial/trade-agent);
sprĂ„k – teckensprĂ„kstalarna (the sign-language speakers)
öde – ödesdiger (“fatal/disasterous-enormous”, fatal, catastrophic)

accusative (not sure if i should call it this, but i’ll call it that when the ending of the word disappears – ex. hundur to hund)
lera – lerbank
önska – önskvĂ€rd
hjĂ€rta – hjĂ€rtsoppa (heart-soup)
smĂ€rta – smĂ€rtgrĂ€ns (“pain-border”, pain threshold. smĂ€rt is probably related to “it smarts!”)
samhĂ€lle – samhĂ€llsnivĂ„ (community/society’s-level)
-are – ledarhundar (“leader-dogs”, seeing-eye dogs)

genom (through), igenom (through), dÀrigenom (thereby),
i andanom (? i dunno this word)

x genders
basically, in the not-very-distant-past, -e was masculine, -a was feminine, -o was the plural form for verbs (ex. de Ă€ro = they are). it still shows up in some dialects or uncommon words, for example it happens a lot when watching nature documentaries with commentary from this one guy. and it definitely comes up if you are reading anything from around 100+ years ago like i tend to do. if you seriously want to learn genders you basically have to learn icelandic or old norse since swedish has dropped the endings on all the words so there’s no longer any rules for knowing which word is which gender. anyway:

allemansrĂ€tten (alla + mans + rĂ€tten = all/every man’s the right) – the law that says everyone in sweden can more or less freely camp on another person’s property as long as they don’t destroy nature. “man” is masculine so “alla” is conjugated to masculine form (alle).

lilla teatern – “teatern (the theatre)” is feminine so “lille” (little) is conjugated to feminine form. however “lille bror (little brother)” would be masculine form.

den gamli kungen – this has two factors. one is that the king is masculine, the other is that in old norse there is “weak versus strong declination” which means adjectives and so on change depending on if it’s “a thing in general” (like any king at all) and “a specific king” (just like we say “the king” and know it would mean “our king”).


lacking indefinite article (a/an): icelandic doesn’t have “a, an”. swedish claims to have it but in reality they skip it most of the time where it should be required (ex. where it’s required in faroese(?) or english). examples below, normally you wouldn’t say the “en”:

jag har (en) hund – I have (a) hound/dog
jag Ă€r (en) student – I am (a university) student
att Ă€ga/hyra (en) bostad – to own/rent (a) livingspace
att hava (en) picknick – to have (a) picknick

likewise prepositions are sometimes dropped (especially in spoken) when they aren’t seen as “necessary”, ex. jag ska (Ă„ka/gĂ„) till affĂ€ren “i plan (to drive/ride/go) to the store”.

x unrelated:
vare sig… eller… – “whether (one)… or….(not)”. looks like vare is a remnant from previous times when there were a lot more verbforms but i’ll need to check to be sure.

sometimes in swedish etc. you see this sort of thing

“sweet milk” was the older term for normal milk, you see it in texts from around the 1910’s and stuff. contrast it with “sour milk” (a product common in the nordics) which is kind of like buttermilk i hear (i don’t really know what buttermilk is).

similarly “sweet cream” was normal cream and “sour cream” was sour cream. “food cream” is cream that you put in as a normal liquid, ex. into your coffee or in a sauce, contrast with whipping cream, both those two being sweet creams.

in swedish, sweet water is freshwater and salt water is saltwater.

”new milk” means whole milk, or sometimes just fresh milk in general.

in icelandic there is “butter” (normal butter) and “butter-like” (margarine).

in faroese, “egg-bloom” (bloom also meaning flower) = egg yolk. in swedish it’s just “egg yellow”. in icelandic it’s… “egg-red” maybe?

hlaup (icelandic) = “aspic, jelly” except not quite
? It can be used for stuff like sauces that have gelatine in them to make them a bit thicker/sluggish, but aren’t actually jelly (i think anyway?). And they use it with all kinds of stuff, like meat sauce, chocolate sauce, and berry sauce.