Publication details [#1098]

Puurtinen, Tiina. 1997. Syntactic norms in Finnish children’s literature. Target 9 (2) : 321–334.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Journal DOI


Owing to children’s developing reading skills and world knowledge, readability (comprehensibility as well as speakability) can be regarded as an important requirement of children’s literature. This article focusses on one determinant of readability, the frequency of nonfinite constructions in children’s books both originally written in Finnish and translated from English into Finnish. A high frequency of complex nonfinite constructions is likely to have a negative effect on readability. A quantitative study of a large number of children’s books shows that Finnish originals have indeed tended to favour finiteness, whereas translations show a higher degree of nonfiniteness. The translations thus fail to conform to one of the syntactic norms of the receiving literature. The article discusses potential reasons for this syntactic difference, considers the possibility of the existence of different sets of norms for translated and originally Finnish children’s books, and speculates upon the innovatory influence of translations.
Source : Based on Target