English as She Is Spoke

English as She Is Spoke Cover

English as She Is Spoke

Being a Comprehensive Phrasebook of the English Language, Written by Men to Whom English Was Entirely Unknown

By Pedro Carolino; Jose Da Fonseca; Jose Da Fonseca

McSweeney's Books, Paperback, 9781932416114, 133pp.

Publication Date: June 20, 2004


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."