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English As She Is Spoke by Jose da Fonseca
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English As She Is Spoke (1855)

by Jose da Fonseca, Pedro Carolino

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This entertaining historical artefact neatly illustrates that comic Babelfish translations are not a recent phenomenon. Language - it's there to trip you up. ( )
  imyril | May 27, 2014 |
It's probably impossible to improve on Mark Twain's review of this timeless tome, and I won't even try. Suffice it to say that time has borne out Twain's prediction that as long as English is spoken, this volume will be circulated, printed, and read to gales of laughter and astonishment. Contains the most evocative phrase ever written in English; "To Craunch a Marmoset." ( )
  BruceCoulson | Jan 20, 2014 |
If your favorite Monty Python sketch is "Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" ("My hovercraft is full of eels"), you'll enjoy this English phrase book, written by a non-English-speaking fellow who used a Portuguese-French phrasebook and French-English dictionary to render what appear to be well-formed Portuguese sentences into inexplicable sentiments such as "He burns one's self the brains." Some of the errors make sense--they are literal translations of reflexive constructions, or homophones. Others defy easy explanation. While it may be true that "It must never to laugh of the unhappies," you may find this a difficult dictum to which to adhere in the face of these translations. I especially enjoy the section presenting anecdotes which are all but incomprehensible in the telling. Laughing of the unhappies, however, may bring about the uneasy realization that your attempts to speak another language probably sound exactly like this phrasebook.

You can learn to say "My hovercraft is full of eels" in many tongues at http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/hovercraft.htm ( )
2 vote OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
This book was first published more than 150 years ago, as a serious attempt to provide English/Portuguese words and phrases for the adventurous Portuguese tourist. Unfortunately, the author did not speak any English, and relied on TWO dictionaries to get to French and then to English. The result is hilariously inaccurate, often inappropriate, and totally believable.

It is very reminiscent of the Monty Python sketch The Hungarian Phrasebook, in which bizarre and often lascivious translations of simple day-to-day phrases cause the publisher to appear in a British court. After several of the more inappropriate phrases are read into the record, he pleads incompetence. My money's on this book as the inspiration.

That this was ever accepted by a publisher speaks reams about the book business. That it survives today is a tribute to a sense of humor and a sense of the absurd. This book will never be obsolete or out of date. It's a minor treasure. ( )
  DavidWineberg | Mar 27, 2013 |
What happens when you use a Portuguese-French phrasebook and a French/English dictionary (and zero knowledge of English) to make a Portuguese-English phrasebook? This happens. It's hard to pick a favorite "common" English phrase, but I am especially amused by "You hear the bird's gurgling?" For extra giggles, read aloud. In short, this book really craunched the marmoset. ( )
  melydia | Mar 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jose da Fonsecaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carolino, Pedromain authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 097190474X, Hardcover)

In 1855, when Jose da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino wrote an English phrasebook for Portuguese students, they faced just one problem: The didn't know any English. All they had was a Portuguese-to-French dictionary, and a French-to-English dictionary. The linguistic train wreck that ensued is a classic of unintentional humor, now revived in the first newly selected edition in a century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In 1855, when Jose da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino wrote an English phrasebook for Portuguese students, they faced just one problem: they didn't know any English. Even worse, they didn't own an English-to-Portuguese dictionary. What they did have, though, was a Portuguese-to-French dictionary, and a French-to-English dictionary. The linguistic train wreck that ensued is a classic of unintentional humor, now revived in the first newly selected edition in a century. Armed with Fonseca and Carolino's guide, a Portuguese traveler can insult a barber ("What news tell me? All hairs dresser are newsmonger"), complain about the orchestra ("It is a noise which to cleve the head"), go hunting ("let aim it! let make fire him"), and consult a handy selection of truly mystifying "Idiotisms and Proverbs."… (more)

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