I am fascinated by Finnish and sound changes. I had an idea for a funny version of Finnish where it has these properties:

Orthographic [k] changes to [q]. [Q] is pronounced /ð/ (voiced TH) before e or i (unvoiced TH) and /θ/ otherwise. There are no noun cases. Orthographic [h] changes to phonetic and orthographic [/f/]. There are a few irregularities. For example, even though hän is he, it becomes 'faqin'. There is a word for a or the. It is 'ifi' and derived from the Finnish word for one. The words are read as if they are English otherwise. Words are translated word for word. Phonetic /s/ or /f/ is removed before or after orthographic [q] Word endings are copied from English. (-ed is same as English past tense, and verbs are conjugated though I don't have time to describe.) Here is an example from Lord of the Flies (first three sentences):

Ifi poiqa qansa reilu fiqet lasqet faqinitqe alas ifi qesta farwat ilqa after roq qofti ifi laguni. Waiqa faqin omisted oted faqin qoulu wilapaita ia ialited se nit alqen ifi qasi faqin paita iutuned eta faqin fiuqsetwaes qipqied faqin farma paita iutuned eta faqin fiuqset qipqied faqin otsu. Qaiqi piorista faqin ifi piqa murqated osaqi ifi widaqo waes ifi iqilpi after lampo.

The question is about mutual intelligibility and translating things. I am curious about how this "reconstructed Finnish" translates to actual Finnish. I looked up how words are ordered, and it said that the word order tends to be the same as English. I suspect that the word endings and sounds (dental fricatives, voiceless labiodental fricatives, and more vowels) will pose major barriers to intelligibility.

Bottom line: if I were to speak this version of Finnish to someone in Finland who spoke Finnish, would they be able to understand without English?

  • 1
    In what way did the English ~ Finnish speaker over at the other place not answer your question?
    – elemtilas
    Apr 9, 2020 at 3:08
  • My comment on Linguistics was deleted together with the question, so I repeat it here: To answer this question, you need to conduct experiments with native speakers of Finnish. For experiment design, you can use, e.g., methods from the INCOMSLAV project that sutdies intercomprehesibility of Slavic languages.
    – Sir Cornflakes
    Jan 3, 2023 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


Since this question was closed in Linguistics, I think it appropriate to note the answer here.

I speak English and a reasonable amount of Finnish, and I could make absolutely no sense of any of that at all, even knowing the sound laws you posit and where the text comes from. It was basically utter gibberish from start to finish. I’m guessing the first three words are meant to be ‘with the boy’, but after that, I’m lost. –-- Janus Bahs Jacquet (9.APR.2020)

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