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"Den dyrkade Lasse och stackars lilla Lotta": en syntaktisk-semantisk studie av personbeskrivande adjektiv och adverb i populära ungdomsböcker
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts.
1984 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
"Wonderful Lasse and poor little Lotta" : a syntactic-semantic study of adjectives and adverbs in popular books for girls and boys (English)
Abstract [en]

The main aim of this study is to examine how characterizations of persons in books for children and adolescents relate to traditional sex role patterns and to determine if there is any difference in this respect between books for girls and books for boys as well as between popular books and quality books.Eight books for girls, eight books for boys, and four books for both girls and boys are examined. From these books 8,268 adjectives, adverbs, and participles which characterize persons or aspects of persons were excerpted. These excerpts have been categorized with regard to syntactic function into attributive adjectives, predicative adjectives, and adverbials, and with regard to meaning as to membership in semantic fields on different levels.The most frequent syntactic category in the material is "predicative" (42.8%), followed by "attributive" (33.4%). Female characters are more often described by predicative adjectives than are male characters, while the opposite is true of attributive adjectives. The choice of syntactic category seems to be determined more by what property or state the lexical item refers to, however, than by the sex of the character described.The semantic fields with the largest number of excerpts are MENTAL PROPERTIES AND STATES (32.9%), SOCIABILITY (15.0%), DRESS AND APPEARANCE (14.7%), and PACE AND MOVEMENTS (11.4%). These fields also dominate within the different categories of books and the descriptions of female and male characters respectively.Traditional sex role patterns are most obvious in characterizations of role characters with respect to their role in society and their relation to other people. Female characters are, e.g., almost exclusively described with respect to their private lives, while male characters are described in terms of their position in society. In the books for boys male characters are attributed a negative or rejecting attitude to their environment, while female characters are attributed a more positive or accepting attitude.The most traditional impression of the opposite sex is conveyed by the books for boys-to the extent that any such impression is conveyed at all by these books. The books for boys have very few female characters and very few descriptions of them. In general, male characters dominate in the books and it is clearly shown that to be a boy or man is more highly regarded than to be a girl or woman.No general differences between popular books and quality literature emerged from the analyses performed. Traditional sex role patterns are equally pronounced in the two types of books, even if there are differences between individual books.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1984. , 269 p.
Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 64
Keyword [en]
characterizations of persons, popular books for children and adolescents, traditional sex role patterns, adjectives, adverbs, participles, attributive adjectives, predicative adjectives, adverbials, semantic fields
Keyword [sv]
Barn- och ungdomslitteratur, genusaspekter, Pojkböcker, Flickböcker
National Category
Gender Studies General Literature Studies General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-71393ISBN: 91-7174-169-0OAI: diva2:623691
Public defence
1984-05-30, Humanisthuset hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2013-05-28 Created: 2013-05-28 Last updated: 2013-05-28Bibliographically approved

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Hene, Birgitta
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