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Resources for 19th century Scandinavian (Norwegian) thieves' cant and baby farming in Norway
firiel11 wrote in little_details
Setting: A slum in Reykjavik, Iceland, in a paralell world with 19th century technology sometime in the far-future.

Searches: 19th century Norwegian thieves' cant, scandinavian thieves' cant, thieves' slang 19th century scandinavia, baby farming norway, angelmaker norway, angelmaker sweden, paid wet nursing in 19th century norway, hilda nilsson, baby farming in norway,

This is two separate questions in one. I'm drafting a project based loosely on Oliver Twist but set in Iceland in a paralell world where trolls, dwarves and elves exist alongside magic, the Greenland Norse colony survived, Iceland has an indigenous troll population, is much larger, and never lost its independence and Reykjavik looks like Dickensian London. One of my protagonists, Bjarki (see here but idea has changed slightly since then) who's basically the Artful Dodger grows up in a thieves' den run by a dwarven fence called Thróinn who's basically a Fagin and a troll-woman called Gunna who takes in babies for money.

But even though it's fantasy I want to have some slightly realistic details about what life was like in Scandinavian slums (in particular in Norway and Sweden) for the very poor. In particular I want to know if there are any good resources for the Norwegian and Swedish equivalent of London thieves' cant that I could use as a model for the thieves' cant in my story, although going by how many immigrants this fantasy Iceland has and the extreme poverty in this Reykjavik there would probably be a bit of British influence on the slang people use.

Also does anyone have good information on baby farming in Scandinavia? I can basically only find a few scattered references to Swedish "angelmakers" like Hilda Nilsson and there isn't that much information about her in English. I did find this Swedish site though.

Thanks in advance, hope my question's clear.

I had never heard the term 'baby farming' and had to look it up. This article has a brief mention of it in context with a lot of information about fostering and abandoned infants in Sweden and elsewhere. Might give you an idea or two.
http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/1/56.full

I think I have what you're looking for!

Mandal, a small town in the south of Norway, used to have (and still has, to an extent) a secret language, mostly for tricking sea merchants. It's called "Smoi-språk," and it works a bit like French verlan. The name literally means "back-alley" or "secret."

It's not big-city thieves' slang, but I'd think you can fudge that detail.

Try getting hold of this article: "A Norwegian adult language game, anti-language or secret code: The Smoi of Mandal." by Ernst Håkon Jahr. It's got a lot of vocabulary, and explains a great deal about who used the language, and why.


Thanks, tabaqui and anonymous!