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Masaryk University

Faculty of Arts
Department of English
and American Studies

English Language and Literature

Iva Čtvrtečková

The Impact of the Translation of English-Language Recipes on the Traditional Form of Czech


(A Corpus Based Analysis Covering the Period between 1989 and 2009)

Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis

Supervisor: PhDr. Jarmila Fictumová

I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.


Author’s signature


I would like to express many thanks to my supervisor, PhDr. Jarmila Fictumová, for her kind

and patient supervision, valuable comments, helpful suggestions and the time that she devoted to my thesis.

Table of Contents

Introduction 7


1. Linguistic and Translation Part 9

1.1 Corpora Definition 10

1.2 Corpora Typology 11

1.2.1 Written vs. Spoken Corpora 11

1.2.2 Sample (Samples) vs. Fulltext Corpora 12

1.2.3 General Reference vs. Special-Purpose Corpora 12

1.2.4 Synchronic vs. Diachronic Corpora 14

1.2.5 Monolingual Corpora vs. Bi- and Multilingual Corpora 14 Parallel Corpora 15 Comparable Corpora 16

1.3 Usage of Corpora 17

1.3.1 Corpora in Translation 18

2. Corpus Compilation 21

2.1 Steps to a Functional Corpus 22

2.1.1. Selection of Materials 22

2.1.2 Converting Materials into an Electronic Form 26

2.1.3 Adaptation to the Corpus Encoding Standard 27


3. Analysis 29

3.1 English Recipes 30

3.1.1 Processing Ingredients 31

3.1.2 Measurement 33 Units of Volume vs. Units of Weight 33 Measurement Systems 34

For further information see internet sites such as The Engineering Toolbox. Unit Easy, Volume – Units of Volume, Volume of Solids, the Volume of Liquids And Gasses, and Imperial Measures of Volume. 39 Determination of Size 40

3.1.3 Structure of Directions 40

3.1.4 Forms of Address 42

3.1.5 Summary: Standard Form of English Recipes 42

3.2 Translated Recipes 44

3.2.1 Processing Ingredients 44

3.2.2 Measurement 46 Units of Volume vs. Units of Weight 46 Measurement Systems 48 Determination of Size 51

3.2.3 Structure of Directions 52

3.2.4 Forms of Address 54

3.2.5 Summary: Development of the Translation of English Recipes 55

3.3 Original Czech Recipes 56

3.3.1 Processing Ingredients 57

3.3.2 Measurement 61 Units of Volume vs. Units of Weight 61 Measurement Systems 65 Determination of Size 67

3.3.3 Structure of Directions 69

3.3.4 Forms of Address 73

3.3.5 Summary: Development of the Czech Traditional Form 74

4. Impact of the Translation 75

Conclusion 76

Czech Summary 78

Bibliography 79

Primary Sources 79

English Cookbooks 80

Czech Cookbooks 83

Translated Cookbooks 85

Recent 87

Secondary Sources 88

List of Tables 91

List of Graphs 91

Appendix 92

Aligned Recipes: Styler and Tobis 92

Aligned Recipes: Oliver 94

Questionnaire 96


As the title of this bachelor thesis suggests, it deals with the translation of English-language recipes and its impact on the traditional form of Czech recipes with respect to the last twenty years. The reason for choosing the period between 1989 and 2009 is the Velvet Revolution followed by an expansion of western culture to Czechoslovakia. With its increasing distribution, the impact on Czech traditions also started to be evident.

Numerous areas have been affected by the change of regime, and cookbooks rank among them. Bookshops used to sell cookbooks which were of Czech origin or translated from languages such as German and Russian; however, those of American or British origin could hardly be found. On the contrary, English-language cookbooks have been often translated into Czech since 1989; and, consequently, they have been influencing the way recipes have been written and perceived.

If and to what extent the form of Czech recipes has changed is described in the practical part of this thesis which can be considered a continuation of Zuzana Havlásková’s bachelor thesis that has inspired me. Havlásková inquired into the form of address in recipes. Therefore, I decided to explore some of the remaining features of the style of recipes which are traditionally considered to be different in English-language and Czech recipes. To be more specific, my research is aimed at topics such as measuring, processing ingredients, and structuring directions. In addition to that, the results of Havlásková’s work are summarized here and, consequently, compared and contrasted with the data from a corpus, which has been created for the purposes of this thesis. The corpus includes three distinct types of materials, namely samples of cookbooks, periodicals and downloads from Internet sites dealing with cooking. They contain English-language recipes, Czech translations of English-language recipes, and original Czech recipes. All of these above mentioned sources ought to eventually provide answers to the basic questions of my thesis, which are:

  • What are the typical features of the standard form of English recipes?

  • How have English recipes been translated into Czech within the last twenty years and has the form of these translations corresponded to the one of English recipes?

  • What does, in fact, the traditional form of Czech recipes look like and has it changed in any way?

  • Do these changes result from the impact of English recipe translation?

In order to answer them, first English-language recipes, later on translated recipes and, finally, original Czech recipes are scrutinized in this part.

The theoretical part of my thesis is divided into two subparts. The first one mainly concentrates on the corpora-related issues since the research is predominantly corpus based. It provides a definition of corpora together with some comments on their basic features. Subsequently, corpora typology is introduced. Particular attention is paid to those types that help to characterize the corpus of this thesis and, thus, are also relevant. What is also embraced here is a description of corpora utilization, focusing predominantly on their exploitation in the field of translation. The second one depicts the process of my corpus compilation, which consists of three steps.

Finally, it is essential to mention two points. The word “English” stands for the whole phrase “English-language” in the rest of the thesis in order to save place. This thesis does not investigate the differences between British and American recipe forms and no difference is made between materials of both origins incorporated in the corpus.

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