Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
The study deals with the usage of tenses in Finnish and Swedish. The analysis focuses on the tenses of finite verb-forms and the aim is to compare differences in tense usage in order to notice where if at all the tense usage differs. The material used comprises one Finnish novel, one Swedish novel and their translations.
The Finnish novel chosen is written by Arto Paasilinna and is called Aatami ja Eeva. The Swedish novel is called Ingen mans land and it is written by Jan Guillou. These novels were chosen because they are both contemporary and the texts were comparable with regard to how much narrative and dialogue they contain.
One problem with generalizing is, that authors as well as translators all have their own idiolect; a variety of a language unique to an individual. A translator may also use a different tense as a stylistic device, for example to enliven the text or to add some drama into it.
My hypothesis was, that due to the semantic similarities between the two languages the tense usage is very similar in Finnish and Swedish. Clear differences were not expected.
The findings of the study verified my hypothesis. However, the study showed that Finnish past perfect was often translated as imperfect tense in the Swedish text and vice versa. The tenses concerned are a "temporal couple", both of them indicating "the past of the past". It might be due to this that it has been possible to change the tense in the translation without affecting the meaning of the sentence. My conclusion is, that in addition to this altering the tense was in many cases a stylistic choice.
Keywords: tenses, tense usage, Finnish, Swedish, translation
2007. , 74 p.