English As She Is Spoke
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 97 15:32:33 -0800
Subject: English As She Is Spoke
[I was sure we had already had examples from "English As She Is Spoke" in
Fun_People, but since I can't find them anywhere in the Archives... -psl]
Forwarded-by: Sean Gugler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: Jason <email@example.com>
This comes from the best sixty cents I ever spent, a British book called
"The Incomplete Book of Failures: The Official Handbook of the
Not-Terribly-Good Club of Great Britain". It's probably out of print
and unavailable, but get it if you can.
The Worst Phrasebook
Pedro Carolino is one of the all-time freats. In 1883 he wrote an
English-Portuguese phrasebook despite having little or no command of the
His greatly recommended book "The New Guide of the Conversation in
Portuguese and English" has now been reprinted under the title "English As
She is Spoke".
After a brief dedication:
'We expect then, who the little book (for the care what we wrote him, and
for her typographical correction) that may be worth the acceptation of the
studious persons, and especially of the youth, at which we dedicate him
Carolino kicks off with some 'Familiar phrases' which the Portuguese
holidaymaker might find useful. Among these are:
Dress your hairs
This hat go well
Undress you to
Exculpate me by your brother's
She make the prude
Do you cut the hairs?
He has tost his all good
He then moves on the 'Familiar Dialogues' which include 'For to wish the
good morning,' and 'For to visit a sick.'
Dialogue 18 - 'For to ride a horse' - begins: 'Here is a horse who have
bad looks. Give me another. I will not that. He not sall know to march,
he is pursy, he is foundered. Don't you are ashamed to give me a jade as
like? he is unshoed, he is with nails up.' In the section on 'Anecdotes'
Carolino offers the following guaranteed to enthrall any listener:
'One eyed was laied against a man which had good eyes that he saw better
than him. The party was accepted. I had gain, over said the one eyed; why
I se you two eyes, and you not look me who one.'
It is difficult to top that, but Carolino manages in a useful section of
'Idiotism and proverbs'. These include:
Nothing some money, nothing of Swiss
He eat to coaches
A take is better than two you shall have
The stone as roll not heap up not foam
and the well-known expression:
The dog than bark not bite
Carolino's particular genius was aided by the fact that he did not possess
an Enlish-Portuguese Dictionary. However, he did possess Portuguese-Prench
and French-English dictionaries through both of which he dragged his
original expressions. The results yield language of originality and great
beauty. Is there anything in conventional English which could equal the
vividness of 'To craunch a marmoset'?
© 1997 Peter Langston