Swedish in New Sweden, 1638–c. 1810. Fragments of a short-lived dialect
Although the colony of New Sweden is fairly well documented, very little has been written about the linguistic situation there, and still less about the Swedish dialect that developed in the colony. Nonetheless, such a dialect was spoken by, at most, around 1,500 people between the middle of the 17th and the beginning of the 19th century. This article is an attempt to analyse the limited data available on the only truly indigenous Swedish dialect outside Europe.
The Swedish of New Sweden probably deviated relatively little from the standard language of the time, although it seems to have had something of a Western Swedish flavour, as well as being influenced to some extent by the neighbouring languages of Dutch, English and Lenape. Both archaic and – for the period – modern features can be observed.
Most documentation of the dialect is lexical in nature. The main source consists of the writings of Pehr Kalm, a disciple of Linnaeus, a fact reflected in the vocabulary recorded, which is made up largely of words from the plant and animal worlds. Certain conclusions can, however, be drawn regarding the morphology, syntax, phonology and pragmatics of the dialect.
2011. 77-104 p.