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Kvantitativa studier av syntaxen i finsk ungdomslitteratur
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Modern Languages. finska.
1992 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Quantitative studies of the syntax in Finnish books for young people (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to investigate the syntax in Finnish literature for young people in order to arrive at fundamental information about the character of the language in literature of this kind. The corpus consists of three Tiina books by Anni Polva. My method is mainly quantitative, but also comparative. The language of the three books is compared, but the results of this comparison are also contrasted with other Finnish and also Swedish quantitative linguistic investigations. The investigation begins at the sentence and clause levels. To some extent is also considered whether syntactic features occur in main clauses or in subordinate clauses, in narrative text or in dialogues.

The length of sentences and clauses is investigated. It appears that the length of sentences stated in clauses (2.2 clauses on averige) and the length of clauses in words (5 words on averige) do not differ from those typical of literature for children or adults. On the other hand the length of sentences stated in words (11 words on averige) is somewhat higher than in literature for children and adults. Active and passive clauses, mode, tense and negation in the clauses are investigated. The results show that the frequency of active clauses is high and the frequency of passive clauses is very low. The frequency of negated clauses is also very high. The most frequent mode is the indicative, followed by the conditional. There are few predicates in the imperative, and there are only isolated instances of predicates in the potential. The use of tenses resembles that in literature for children and adults: most predicates are in the past tense, followed by the present, the pluperfect and the perfect.

Main clauses and subordinate clauses of different kinds are dealt with in the investigation. The proportion between main clauses and subordinate clauses is about the same as in the spoken language. The coordinating as well as the subordinating conjunctions are investigated both with regard to the actual occurrences of the conjunctions and with regard to their meanings. The most frequent coordi­nating conjunctions are ja 'and* (55.8 %) and multa 'but' (21.4 %). The classification of the conjunctions according to meaning shows that copulative conjunctions are the most frequent ones (50.7 %). Of the subordinating conjunctions että 'that' (35.7 %) and kun 'when, because' (25.0 %) are the most frequent ones. Semantically explicative conjunctions are the most frequent subordinating conjunctions (27.6 %). Syndetic coordination is most frequent in main clauses (78.8 %) as well as in subordinate clauses (98.9 %). Asyndetic coordination is clearly used as a stylistic device.

A large number of different constructions are used in the corpus. Some of them are contracted clauses, some are other constructions which resemble them. The frequency of these constructions is unexpectedly high. The most frequent types of contracted clause are the necessive construction (47.9 %), the participle construction (18.3 %) and the temporal construction (15.3 %). Of the other constructions the modal construction (60.4 %) and the agent construction (12.8 %) are the most frequent ones.

The structure of the sentences in the Tiina books is varied and sometimes complex. In all there are 167 different combinations of clauses in the corpus. The most frequent type of sentence consists of one main clause (27.8 %). In the combination of clauses we also find clauses with different degrees of subordination. Grade 1 is the most frequent one (87.1 %). However, there are even instances of grade 4. The position of main clauses and subordinate clauses varies a great deal. They may be mixed at will. The corpus contains a large number of clause combinations which occur once only.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1992. , 191 p.
Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 106
Keyword [en]
Finnish, Swedish, quantitative, comparative, children's literature, syntax, main clause, subordinate clause, contracted clause, narrative text, dialogue
Keyword [sv]
kvantitativ, komparativ, ungdomslitteratur, syntax, finsk, svensk, satstyper
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-12252ISBN: 91-7174-685-4OAI: diva2:151923
Available from: 2007-03-27 Created: 2007-03-27 Last updated: 2013-02-20Bibliographically approved

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