What I’m Reading: English as She Is Spoke

What happens when people who don’t speak English attempt to write a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook? One of the funniest unintentional humor books of all time!

Two gentlemen wanted a helpful book for Portuguese students, but they didn’t have the right references. Instead, they used a Portuguese-to-French dictionary and a French-to-English dictionary. Produced in 1855, this publication became the Victorian equivalent of a viral video as friends passed it on to friends and laughed over the funny phrases.


English as She Is Spoke

Armed with this gem, you can say such witty things as “He has spit in my coat,” “take that boy and whip him to much,” “these apricots and these peaches make me and to come water in mouth,” “he do the devil at four,” or “to craunch a marmoset.” Add to that the resources to insult virtually anybody you meet, and you have a literary gem for the ages. You can amuse yourself and your friends with paperback, hard cover, or Kindle.

“Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.” – Mark Twain

Do the devil at four!

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