I am not a big fan of a posteriori conlangs as a concept, although some of the best conlangs out there are of that kind (Novegradian
, I am looking at you). There is one such idea that increasingly has haunted me ever since I visited Iceland.
I have come across claims that I have been unable to relocate (and thus I now doubt it) that in the early 20th century, there were plans to attract more settlers to the eastern half of Iceland. According to my now lost source, one option they considered was inviting a few thousand (or even tens of thousand, not sure on that) Finns.
Now, let us imagine this had happened a bit earlier - Sweden had in fact similarly attracted Finns (then of course subjects of the Swedish crown) to settle various uninhabited forests in mainland Sweden (and even in non-integral parts of the Swedish empire) as far back as the late 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, such groups also settled in Norway, then under Danish rule. Some Finns probably have lived in northern Norway since times immemorial, but a large migration occurred between 1820 and 1890.
So, what if Denmark had invited Finns to settle on the eastern part of Iceland in the middle of the 19th century? What would their language be like today? What would Icelandic be like today?
A few things may lessen the weirdness of the pairing:
- Both have quirky case, although Icelandic has more of it for objects than Finnish has. Finnish has differential object marking, though!
- Both have rich morphology, although Finnish is more agglutinating and Icelandic more fusional.
- Both have rounded vowels, both have diphthongs, and Icelandic preaspiration does not differ all that much from Finnish hC clusters.
Differences abound, though.
It is not a conlang I will ever make, but here's the idea up for grabs! If you decide to go for it, do tell!