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Föränderligt och beständigt : En studie av Elsa Beskows berättarspråk

  • Lundmark, Aili
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2015
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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This thesis is a study of the narrative language of Elsa Beskow, Sweden's most famous children's writer of the early twentieth century. The overall aim of the thesis is to contribute to the understanding of why Beskow's stories are still among the most popular children's books in Sweden, more than a hundred years after her literary debut. My investigation is a quantitative study of word-class distribution, various syntactic features, and readability in four picture-books and four other stories. To begin with, Beskow's language is compared to that of other texts written for young readers, including children's fiction, a contemporary reading-book, and popular comic strips. The results indicate that Beskow has something in common with all of these materials, especially with children's fiction. However, she also has her own style, which is different from the children's fiction I compare with. For example, her sentences are comparatively long and often begin with a conjunction. Moreover, Beskow uses many address phrases and interjectional phrases, and the initial clause-constituent is often some other clause element than the subject. Additionally, Beskow's narrative language is compared to conversational language and to formal prose. The results show that Beskow moves along the whole scale, from conversation to formal writing, depending on what aspect of her language use is considered. In some cases, her style even falls outside of the scale. For example, placing the subject in initial position is less common in Beskow's writing than in both conversation and formal writing. Finally, the variation between Beskow's texts is examined. The analysis shows, among other things, that the oral influences on Beskow's style increased during the five decades she wrote stories.

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