Swedish: Storpiga [a word?]

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Saroumane, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Saroumane New Member

    English - USA

    I've only just begun setting out to learn Swedish, as it is part of my heritage on my mother's side and, as such, I have a deep interest in the language and culture of my ancestors. Just today, I was talking with my grandmother about our family, and she mentioned something her father used to call her when she was a girl, and she said the word that sounded like "sturapiga", but I couldn't quite find the exact word; the closest thing I found in searching Google was "storpiga", which, from what links I saw on the Google pages, seemed to be addressing a girl or woman. I could find nothing in my Swedish-English dictionary.

    I would greatly appreciate help in finding the correct spelling and translation of this word, as I would like to share it with my grandma.

    Thank you!
  2. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    It appears to be a compound of the words stor, meaning big, and piga. In modern Swedish, Piga, denotes a maid or female servent on a farm (and is hence hardly ever used in modern language), but in modern Danish, it's the standard word for girl. Obviously, both of these originate from a common ancestor which meant something along the lines of "young girl". (More information on wiktionary.)

    As such, it seems he was calling her "big girl", which sounds reasonable given the context.
  3. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
  4. Ogago Member

    I think another explanation is worth considering...

    If an household has more than one piga, like a team of pigor, all doing their respective tasks, there is a need of a supervisor, a piga who has an overall responsabilityn towards their employer, or husbonden or his wife. This piga is particular could very well be called a stor-piga.
    This has nothing to do with size, more her level of responsibilities, and her rank among the other pigorna.
  5. Lugubert Senior Member

    I've never encountered the word, but the link that Mattias found seems reasonable. I'm not so sure that "matmor" would have wanted a level of command between her and the younger maids. I have seen "lillpiga", though, which must mean the youngest maid.
  6. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    However, althoug "pige" simply means "girl" in Danish the constellation "storpige", "lillepige" also used to be positions in the hierachy servants. Lillepigen would do simple tasks around the house. Could be a girl as young as eight or nine years old whom the parents, lacking means to feed all their children, would have put into the service of some big farm or rich family.
  7. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    English (US)
    I have no problems understanding the definition of "storpiga" in this link... until the last sentence:
    ”Storpigan skulle först å främst va fulltagande te mjölka”.

    I'm aware of "å" as an alternative pronunciation of "och", but is it allowable in writing?

    I assume "va" is a shortened form of "vara". Is that right? Is "va" for "vara" common in current colloquial speech? Allowable in writing?

    I don't understand the syntax of "fulltagande te mjölka”.

    Thanks in advance for any clarifications!

  8. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    Sorry about that link being possibly confusing. I only linked to it because it seems like a good reasonable explanation for what the word meant and I didn't really pay attention to the language used. I would guess it's written as the dialect would sound, in this case from the region of "Uppland". I'm not sure how many people still speak like that but I would certainly not recommend using "va" and "å" in writing (in those cases). It looks odd and unsophisticated, if "allowable" at all.

    Very interesting that you brought up the word "fulltagande" as it is new to me. "te" I believe would be "till" in some dialects. I typed in "fulltagande" in the search box and found a bunch of instances. The word though seems a bit difficult to define. I think it means something along the lines of being qualified for a full payment, meaning the person must be able to work (physically well) and actually work a whole day with important work. I guess in this context "storpigan" would have to be that to be allowed to milk the cows, or it was her duty to do so (?). I'm guessing perhaps the latter.

    By the way, I would also guess that "fulltagande" might be related to "deltagande". "Att delta" = "To participate". So "to fully participate" seems close.
  9. Göte Member

    I don't think we have to guess since words with the same stem are explained in SAOB (Svenska Akademins Ordbok). "fulltagen" translates to "fully developed", "at full strength", "very skilled/fast" or similar.
  10. MattiasNYC Senior Member

    New York
    I searched "fulltagande" and found virtually nothing, so thanks for searching better than me. Now I don't have to guess ;-)

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