Pedro Carolino, who knew no English, wrote a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook entitled *English as She Is Spoke*. He used a Portugese-French phrasebook and a French-English dictionary to write his work. It is a classic of unintentional humor.

How a Portuguese-to-English Phrasebook Became a Cult Comedy Sensation

Library of Congress/LC-DIG-ds-05448)

In the middle of the 19th century, a relatively unknown author named Pedro Carolino rapidly gained intercontinental popularity over a small Portuguese-to-English phrasebook. English as She Is Spoke (or O novo guia da conversação em portuguez e inglez) was originally intended to help Portuguese speakers dabble in the English tongue, but was penned by a man who spoke little to no English himself. And, instead of helping Portuguese speakers learn a second language, it became a cult classic for fans of inept and unintentional humor.

It quickly gained notoriety among English speakers, including author Mark Twain, who wrote the introduction for the first English edition, published in 1883. Twain endors… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

14 thoughts on “Pedro Carolino, who knew no English, wrote a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook entitled *English as She Is Spoke*. He used a Portugese-French phrasebook and a French-English dictionary to write his work. It is a classic of unintentional humor.”

  1. Zbignich

    I have the book. It’s hilarious. I speak Portuguese and English, so it’s doubly bad.

  2. chancellorhelmut

    “My hovercraft is full of eels”

  3. Raving_Lunatic69

    As much fun as I have with Google Translate, I can imagine that book was awesome

  4. Phrankespo

    LOL, the last line in the article got me.

    ” One could ponder why Carolino took on the task of creating a phrasebook in a language he did not speak, but sometimes it is better not to look a gift horse in the mouth; or as Carolino says, “a horse baared don’t look him the tooth.”

  5. goldfishpaws

    To craunch a marmoset

  6. jorph

    This is amazing. Take out the hot coal with the hand of the cat

  7. JohnCrichtonsCousin

    I will not buy this record, it is scratched.

  8. davidrachlin

    “I will not buy this tobacconists… It is scratched.”

  9. Chef_BoyarB

    I wonder if Monty Python’s Hungarian to English Dictionary sketch was based off this. Too funny

  10. gromwell_grouse

    I speak English berry goot, I learn it from a book.

  11. john_andrew_smith101

    The section Idiotisms and Proverbs is just golden.

  12. viderfenrisbane

    “these apricots and these peaches make me and to come water in mouth.”

    That’s what she said

  13. geogle

    The thumbnail of Pedro looks like he knows more English than he’s lets on

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