Syntactic Features Of Russian Germans Recipe's Texts


The article is devoted to the problem of linguistic research of small-format texts, defining their linguistic elements. To such texts relates culinary recipe. Culinary recipes of Russian Germans are evidence of the preservation of linguoculture, traditions and national identification, reflect sociocultural parameters, values of society and the individual. The basis of the study is a field method (survey of respondents) and a comprehensive analysis of the texts of recipes. The study was based on the texts of culinary recipes recorded orally via digital audio recording. In the graphic fixation of recipes used spelling, close to the norms of the literary German language. As a result of the study, the distinctive syntactic features of culinary recipes in a mixed dialect (West German and East Middle German) were established. Culinary recipes reflect typical colloquial and dialect features of the language of Russian Germans at syntactical level. The analysis of recipes allowed to identify ways of borrowing and deviations from the norm of the German literary language at the syntactical level and to determine the interference’s degree of the foreign language environment. The influence of the Russian language is manifested in the mixing of elements of the Russian and German syntax, the presence of syntactic calques, the breach of the sentence framework.

Keywords: Russian germans, dialect, recipes, syntactic features, culinary traditions


The premise of our research was determined by the relevance of studying the linguoculture of Russian Germans, since this topic has a long history of research and is of particular interest. Russian Germans, being a connecting link between two cultures and mentalities, still honour traditions, including culinary ones, which are transmitted to subsequent generations. A culinary recipe is not only a special text for practical use, but also a semiotic entity, in which linguistic changes are also reflected. The scientific novelty of our research is an attempt to analyze the syntactical features of culinary recipes based on the mixed dialect (West Middle German and East Middle German) of Russian Germans living in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Problem Statement

The dialect syntax has much in common with the syntax of the literary language. Many researchers recognize that dialect syntax is distinguished by fewer features than dialect phonetics or morphology (Vasilkina, 2002, p. 120). Of particular interest to scientists is the study of the syntactic phenomena of German dialects in the conditions of bilingualism of its speakers.

Research Questions

The studied texts have their own specific features, do not have a written form, being carried out only in oral colloquial speech. According to Yakovleva (1998), "the main syntactical feature of colloquial speech is the tendency to dominate the meaning of the function over the meaning of the structure. The speaker concentrates more on the content side of the utterance, and the fast pace of implementation leads to a breach of certain syntactic rules" (p. 114). Specific features are also the result of foreign language influence on the structural organization of the sentence and its actual division.

The methodological basis of our research was also determined by the fundamental methods of foreign and domestic scientists in the field of studying the text of the culinary recipe Hödl (1999), Langer (1995), Glaser (2000), Burkova (2004), Moskalyuk (2009), study of the text as an object of linguistic research Vogel (2016), Galperin (2007), studies of the current state of the German island dialects Berend (2011), Schmidt, (2014), Moskalyuk (2016), Krapotkina (2016), Baykova (2010), in the field of studying the linguistic features of the island dialects of the Krasnoyarsk Territory Dyatlova (2009), Ermyakina (2006), Serzhanova (2010).

Purpose of the Study

The article aims to consider the syntactical features of the recipe's texts of Russian Germans.

Research Methods

A text is defined as a sequence of sentences united by a semantic and grammatical connection, when considered, the main attention is paid to its central link - a complex syntactic whole.

The central grammatical unit of syntax is a simple sentence, which is an elementary unit for conveying meaningful content. In the organization of a separate sentence, the dialectical unity of the system-language and system-speech is realized (Dyatlova & Ermyakina, 2016).

The studied recipe texts contain simple declarative and motivating sentences.

1. Motivating sentences, as a rule, differ in their structure from the motivating sentences of the literary German language. The motivation in the studied recipes acts as a prescription, recommendation, advice, call, order, prohibition.

Prescription-recommendation is expressed by an imperative in the form of the second person singular or plural. For example, motivating sentences with a verb in the imperative: Riere mit Scheber./ Verrühre mit dem Schöpflöffel. Stir with a ladle; Sometimes Infinitiv + lassen constructions are found in motivating sentences to emphasize that the action takes place independently of the recipient (Filippov, 2007, p. 24): Knoweloch fein verschneide und in Pri nei schiede, nort las stehe halve Stunde. / Schneide fein den Knoblauch und füge in die Brühe hinzu, lass dann eine halbe Stunde stehen. / Finely cut the garlic and add to the broth, then leave for half an hour. Examples are presented (hereinafter) in the following order: dialect/literary German/English.

Prescription-advice is expressed by the imperative in the so-called polite form. We have found a form of polite treatment imperative: Gießen Sie in die Pfanne Eile und erhitzen, danach gießen Sie diese Masse. / Gießen Sie das Öl in die Pfanne und erhitzen, gießen Sie danach diese Masse. / Pour the oil into a frying pan and heat up, then pour this mass. This example shows the influence of literary German on the speech of dialect speakers, since the form of polite treatment coincides with the form of polite treatment of the imperative in literary German. The relevant dialect form is formed in the same way as the second person plural form of the Imperative.

Schmelzen Sie das Eile mit Meil mische до комочков (to lumps form). / Schmelzen Sie das Öl mit Mehl und mischen Sie, bis es Klümpchen gibt. / Melt the butter and flour and mix until lumps form.

Prescription-call can be expressed by a verb in the 1st person plural of the Imperative Indicates: Machen wir runde Teigstickchen/ Machen wir runde [Knödel]. We make round galushki (small boiled dumpling).

Prohibition is expressed in the form of an imperative in combination with a particle net/nicht. We have found the sentences with negation net/nicht, related to verbs, or negating individual sentence parts: Zuerst Wasser bißje koche, daß Milich net anbrennt. / Zuerst Wasser bisschen kochen, [damit] Milch nicht anbrennt. / First, boil some water so that the milk does not burn.

Motivating sentences are one-part sentences, usually consisting of one member (predicate) and only one or two members (object, adverbial): Nei schiede Pewerminztrobe, finf Trobe. / Gib Pfefferminztropfen (fünf Tropfen) hinzu. Add peppermint drops (five drops).

2. In culinary recipes, infinitive sentences with the meaning of motivation are often found: Dann Stigjen aufschneide und in Eile proude. / Dann in Stückchen schneiden und in Öl braten. Then cut into pieces and fry in oil. The infinitives aufschneiden, proude are placed after the noun at the end of the sentence.

We found many examples of infinitive sentences where the word order deviates from the norm of the literary language: Milich nei in Top schiede und in Owen stelle. Kartowel scheile dorchschneide halwe Stiegje. / Milch in den Kochtopf gießen und in den Offen stellen. Kartoffeln schälen, in zwei Hälften zerschneiden. / Pour the milk into a saucepan and put it in the oven. Peel potatoes, cut in half. The prefix nei is placed separately from the verb schiede before the noun with the preposition in Top, the noun with the adjective halwe Stiegje is placed outside the framework, the infinitive dorchschneide is placed before the noun, and not in the last place, as in the case with the infinitives schiede, stelle, scheile.

3. Typical constructions that express motivation in the text of the culinary recipe are simple declarative sentences. Sentences consist mainly of 5-9 words. At the syntactic level, the following feature of the presentation can be distinguished: the exclusion from the sentence structure the personal subject of action. The subject is an indefinite personal pronoun in dialect form mer. For example: Nimmt mer Meil, Tigmilich, Eier. / Man, nimmt Mehl, Dickmilch, Eier. Take flour, curdled milk, eggs. The motivation can be expressed in declarative sentences with verbs in the 1st person plural of the indicative mood: Wir legen gedünstetes Kraut. / Wir legen gedünstetes Kraut. We put stewed cabbage.

There are sentences that express motivation, with verbs of the 2nd person singular of the imperfect indicative, while the pronoun du is usually after the verb: Tuest du Salz, Eig. Machst du des an. Norcht tuest du Keis. In Keis tust du nei Salz, Eig und kann mer Winterzwiwel. Norch machst du Fjargel und pagst.

The appearance of a personal pronoun is explained by the familiarity of speech: Wenn die Kartowel gar sind, musst du Meil braun mache in die Pan. / Wenn die Kartoffeln braun werden, musst du Mehl in der Pfanne anbraten. When the potatoes turn brown, you need to fry the flour in a frying pan.

Often there is a breach of the framework construction in sentences with the predicate modal verb + infinitive, the verb is on the first, and not on the second as in literary German: Kann mer mit Hingelfleisch, Gänsefleisch, Milich kochen, wie der wollt. / Man, kann mit Hühnerfleisch, Gänsefleisch, Milch kochen, wie man wünscht. / You can cook with chicken, goose meat, milk, as you want.

a) In recipes, the order is expressed in sentences with a pseudo-subordinate clause: Nort rausschiede und austriege. Und das kein Wasser drin bleibt./ Nimm dann heraus und drücke aus. Und dass kein Wasser innen bleibt. Then take out and squeeze out. And so that no water is left inside.

The most important feature of dialect texts-recipes is their "colloquial" character, which is the reason for possible deviations from the norms of written literary language. Dialect oral speech is spontaneous, the word order is much freer than in the modern German literary language, the sentence in it is not so strictly organized (Compare.: Dyatlova & Ermyakina, 2016, p. 97).

The basic word order in German simple declarative sentences is OVS, where O – is the object, V– is the verb, and S – is the subject. Mit Heiwe tust du, Meil und den Zucker/ Mit Hefe machst du [den Teig], Mehl und Zucker [zugeben]. Prepare dough from yeast, add flour and sugar. In this sentence, the subject is expressed by the pronoun du, the simple verb predicate is expressed by the verb tust in the present tense of the active voice. In studied texts - recipes, as in literary German, the subject can be expressed by a personal or indefinite personal pronoun. The most common sentences are with reverse word order.

The prevailing tendency for the syntactic organization of the studied texts is a small number of complex sentences.

We also noted the subordinate clauses of the purpose, time with the conjunctions dass, bis, wenn: Nort rausschiede und austriege, dass kein Wasser drin bleibt./ Nimm dann heraus und drücke aus, bis dass kein Wasser innen bleibt. Und brate, bis sie fjartig sind./ Und brate, bis sie fertig werden. Fry [until ready]. Wenn die Kleis gar, Ram, und Puder drin nei./ Wenn die Klöße fertig sind, gib saure Sahne und Butter hinzu. When the gnocchi are ready, add sour cream and butter. The subordinate conjunctions dass, bis, as in literary German, affect the word order in the subordinate clause, that is, the verb in the subordinate clause is at the end. In literary German, if the subordinate clause is at the beginning of the sentence, then the verb is after it. In this example, the verb is at the end of the sentence, not after the subordinate clause.

As a result of the predominant use of the Russian language by informants, some sentences of the studied recipe texts are modeled on the Russian sentence with a breach of the framework structure typical of the German language. The takeout of the framework structure can be found in the sentences of the imperative form: Nort Kleißchen mache mit Meil. / Koche das Dürrobst im Wasser. Mache dann Klößchen aus Mehl. / Boil dried fruits in water. Then make gnocchi from flour. The results allow us to conclude that the reasons for the deviation from the framework structure of a simple sentence in the studied texts are due to the oral form of the existence of dialects. The studied recipe texts have syntactic calques, since formed on the model of the Russian language due to the contact of native speakers with the Russian-speaking population. Under the influence of similar Russian constructions, sentences with the indefinite personal pronoun man begin with a verb: Muss mer esse. / Man, muss essen. / It is possible to eat. The influence of the Russian language is manifested in the mixing of elements of the Russian language and German syntax. The sentence, as in colloquial German, can begin with the word nort (then) as in Russian: Nort raus mit Scheber, in die Schießel nei. / Nimm dann mit Durchschlag heraus, gib in die Schüssel hinzu. / Then remove with a colander and add to a bowl. We noted the layout of impersonal sentences modelled on the Russian language, the impersonal pronoun and copulas are omitted, for example: Fjartig. / Fertig ist das ganze. / Everything is ready.

The colloquial orientation of the texts of culinary recipes is reflected:

  • in the frequent use of ellipses, which help to save language resources: Nort raus die Warenik. / [Nimm] dann die Maultaschen heraus. Then take out the pierogi.
  • in the starting position of the variable verb form in declarative sentences: Muss mer zusammenpetze. /Man, muss verkleben. You need to seal it up.
  • takeout of the framework structure of object: Nort Manekritz neischiede (Glas voll). / Dann füge den Grieß (ein Glass voll) hinzu. Then add the semolina (a full glass).


From the above, we can conclude that the studied texts have their own specific features, being realized only in oral speech. The dominant tendency for the syntactic organization of the text of the studied recipes is the abundance of simple sentences that consistently express the train of thought of the author of the recipes. Unprepared and spontaneous oral speech affects not only the structure of the recipe, but also the structure of sentences. The "colloquial" nature of recipes implies deviations from the norms of the written literary language. The result of spontaneity and unprepared oral speech of speakers of island German dialects at the syntactic level are short structures, omission of structural links. The structural and linguistic organization of the recipe was also influenced by a foreign language influence. The influence of literary German is confirmed by the use of the polite form of the imperative. The influence of the Russian language is manifested in the mixing of elements of the Russian language and German syntax, the presence of syntactic calques, the breach of the framework structure in the sentence. The results of the study influence's of Russian language are shown in Table 1:

Table 1 - Forms of Russian language interference in dialect speech of German informants
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The influence of the Russian language is manifested in the mixing of elements of the Russian language and German syntax and layout of impersonal sentences modelled on the Russian language. The central grammatical unit of syntax is a simple sentence, representing an elementary unit. The colloquial orientation of culinary recipes is reflected in the frequent use of ellipses, in the starting position of the variable form of the verb in declarative sentences, takeout of the framework structure. In the speech of speakers of Russian Germans dialects, there is a tendency to breach the framework structure of a simple sentence (in imperative sentences, in a construction: modal verb + infinitive). The reasons for the deviation from the framework are due to the oral form of the existence of dialects and the long-term foreign-language influence. The studied recipe texts have syntactic calques – sentences, modelled on the similar Russian constructions.


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Moskalyuk, L. I., & Korbmakher, T. V. (2021). Syntactic Features Of Russian Germans Recipe's Texts. In I. V. Kovalev, A. A. Voroshilova, & A. S. Budagov (Eds.), Economic and Social Trends for Sustainability of Modern Society (ICEST-II 2021), vol 116. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1103-1109). European Publisher.