Hyper-conventional, unconventional, or “just right”? The interplay of normalisation and cross-linguistic influence in the use of modal particles in translated Chinese children’s literature

Xiaomin Zhang, Haidee Kotze, Jing Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The interplay between normalisation and cross-linguistic influence (CLI) has not been widely investigated in the specialised text type of children’s literature. Yet it may be proposed that normalisation would be particularly salient in translated children’s books as a consequence of the importance assigned to the needs of the target audience. This study embarks on an investigation of normalisation in Chinese children’s literature translated from English using modal particles as operationalisation. By combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, it aims to shed light on whether translators tend to normalise or hyperconventionalise children’s books to the norms of the genre in the recipient culture, or whether there is evidence of CLI effects. Overall, the study does not find substantial quantitative evidence of normalisation (‘hyper-conventionalisation’). However, a small-scale qualitative analysis of two modal particles suggest that CLI and translators’ style play a role in some observable differences between translated and non-translated Chinese children’s books.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019



  • normalisation
  • cross-linguistic influence
  • children's literature
  • corpus study
  • modal particles

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