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Where to stay in the UK and in Italy: a comparative study of the language of holiday accommodation advertisements

di Beatrice Stellin
Università degli Studi di Padova
Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia
Facoltà di Scienze Politiche
Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature anglo-germaniche e slave

Relatore: Prof. Erik Castello
Tesi di laurea di: Beatrice Stellin (Matr. N. 614513 MZL)

2.2 - Procedure

As previously mentioned, in order to obtain data for my linguistic research, I created a multilingual comparable corpus of texts promoting hotels and a parallel one about the same topic. English and Italian websites were searched using one of the most popular search engines, Google, and then downloaded from the Internet and stored on the computer in a word file. Subsequently, they were converted in a word pad file, in order to investigate the specialized language used to promote different types of accommodation: hostels, B&B, farmhouses and luxury hotels in both Great Britain and Italy. This analysis has been conducted by means of the software called "AntConc", a freeware, multiplatform tool which is used to carry out corpus linguistics research and also data-driven learning.

The following diagrams in Figures 1 and 2 show the procedure followed in order to choose the online promotional texts for this study:

Where to stay in the UK and in Italy - Foto 1

Figure 1: Diagram showing the procedures followed to compile the multilingual comparable corpus for this study.

As shown in Figure 1, in order to compile my multilingual comparable corpus I searched for 10 English texts - promoting accommodation in both English and Italian places - and 10 Italian texts - promoting the same - for every type of accommodation. Therefore, the result is a corpus made of: 5 English texts describing hostels in London, 5 about hostels in Rome, 5 Italian texts promoting hostels in Rome, 5 English texts advertising B&B in the Lake District, 5 Italian texts describing B&B near the Lake Garda, 5 English texts about farmhouses in Ireland, 5 Italian texts promoting ‘agriturismi' in Tuscany, 5 English texts describing luxury hotels in London, 5 about luxury hotels in Venice and finally 5 Italian texts advertising luxury hotels in Venice. It is worth noting that for the resorts marked in red, no promotional text was found which was originally written not provide any original promotional texts in that given language for a given type of accommodation.

Where to stay in the UK and in Italy - Foto 2

Figure 2: Diagram showing the procedures followed to compile the multilingual parallel corpus for this study.

As shown in Figure 2, to compile my multilingual parallel corpus I searched for 4 promotional texts - 2 English texts promoting 2 English accommodation and 2 Italian texts promoting 2 Italian accommodation - and their relative translations for every type of accommodation. Thus, the resulting corpus is composed of: 2 English texts describing hostels in London, 2 Italian texts about hostels in Rome, 4 Italian texts promoting B&B near the Lake Garda, 4 Italian texts advertising ‘agriturismi' in Tuscany, 2 English texts describing luxury hotels in London and 2 Italian texts about luxury hotels in Venice, all associated with their translation in the target language. It is important to take into account that for the English resorts marked in red no translation into Italian of the English texts was found.
The tourists destinations chosen are London and Rome for hostels, Lake District and Lake Garda for B&B, Ireland and Tuscany for farmhouses, London and Venice for luxury hotels. I chose London for both hostels and luxury hotels, because other English destinations do not provide any Italian translated texts about their accommodation. The owners of accommodation in these other resorts are indeed likely to assume that also foreign guests know enough English to be able to understand the English texts.