In the country of blinds, the one eyed men are kings.
April 18, 2011 8:52 AM   Subscribe

"English As She Is Spoke is a broken Portuguese-to-English phrasebook written by two translators, José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino. Sort of. You see, in reality, translator Pedro Carolino wanted to create a phrasebook on his own. Not knowing English, he took José da Fonseca’s French-to-English phrasebook and then used a Portuguese-to-French phrasebook to translate that. It’s sort of like what you and your friends do on Google Translate, but with a poor, mislead Portuguese man doing it by hand in candlelight."

A broken-linked previously on Mefi, the public domain masterpiece is now available in its entirety as a free Kindle download. It is a lot of fun.
posted by item (52 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Please fondle my bum?
posted by Gator at 8:57 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My hovercraft is full of eels.
posted by yiftach at 9:00 AM on April 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


English As She Is Spoke vs. Babelfish! from mefi's own zompist
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would like to be a Lochsmith, spend all day long fixing Lochs. Sounds peaceful.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 AM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


My nipples explode with delight!
posted by Omon Ra at 9:03 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


These apricots
and these peaches
make me

and to
come water
in mouth

Please and
stomach good they
so sugar
and to memor
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:04 AM on April 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


This makes me want to feed your fingertips to the wolverines.
posted by tommasz at 9:05 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


es es shops was looking for your houses
posted by infini at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2011


Hey, I think I may have met a Coochmann at a party in college once.

I slapped him when he said he wanted to "dress my hairs."
posted by Kitteh at 9:10 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


...a free Kindle download.

And a free EPUB-and-other-formats download, as well.
posted by Iridic at 9:14 AM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would like to return this tobacconist, it is scratched.
posted by briank at 9:15 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love "English As She Is Spoke!" I bought a copy at the old McSweeney's store in Brooklyn and then met a friend at a nearby bar for Happy Hour... I was flipping through the book and laughing so much my friend left the bar and went to buy her own copy.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:17 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was given a copy for a birthday, some time ago. The hilarity holds up even after all these years! =)
posted by indiebass at 9:18 AM on April 18, 2011


I wonder what he thought a "nailer" did.

I really like the phrase "As beggar as a church rat".
posted by Ad hominem at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2011


"A bad arrangement is better than a process" is the motto of many committees on which I have served. This fellow was merely ahead of his time.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:20 AM on April 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Babblefish version updated with Google Translate. (With spelling corrections accepted.) It appears the machines are getting a little smarter.

Barriga cheia, cara alegre.
A full stomach makes for a content face.
ES: After the paunch comes the dance.
B: Full, expensive belly glad.
GT: Eat and be merry face.

É provável que já Vm. componha algum discursozinho em francês.
Probably you are already giving some little speeches in French.
ES: Do you compose without doubt also some small discourses in french?
B: It is probable that already Vm. composes some discursozinho in Frenchman.
GT: It is likely that already Vm. compose a little speech in French.

Zombo deles; o meu navio é armado em guerra, tenho equipagem vigilante e animosa; e as munições não me faltam.
I laugh at them; my ship is armed for war; I have an alert and courageous crew, and I have plenty of ammunition.
ES: I jest of them; my vessel is armed in man of war, i have a vigilant and courageous equipage, and the ammunitions don't want me its.
B: I jeer of them; my ship is armed in war, has vigilant and animosa equipage; e the ammunition do not lack to me.
GT: Mocked them, my ship is armed in war, I am vigilant and cheerful crew, and ammunition not fail me.

Ainda não é tempo delas; mas os damascos brevemente estarão maduros.
It isn't the season for them; but the apricots will soon be ripe.
ES: It is not the season yet; but here is some peaches what does ripen at the eye sight.
B: Still it is not time of them; but the damson plums briefly will be mature.
GT: Although it is not their time, but soon will be ripe apricots.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:23 AM on April 18, 2011


Anyone needs me, I'll be craunching the marmoset.
posted by Naberius at 9:24 AM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


After the paunch comes the dance.

If anyone needs me, I'll be out getting these words tattooed in the shape of an arrow pointing from my bellybutton to my crotch.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:30 AM on April 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


As someone who is half Portuguese, this sort of sounds like half of my relatives in heated discussions, trying to keep things in English, but then drifting back and forth between both languages.

Besides, translation malapropisms are always a hoot.
posted by Relay at 9:32 AM on April 18, 2011


He laughs at my nose, he jest by me.
He has spit in my coat.
He has me take out my hairs.
He does me some kicks.
He has scratch the face with hers nails.
He burns one's self the brains.


At some point I unconsciously repurposed the phrase "to do some kicks" to mean "to bring benefit to oneself", or more commonly "that's not going to do me any kicks" for something that will not benefit me. Now my wife says it a lot too.
posted by anazgnos at 9:33 AM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


After the paunch comes the dance.

pretty sums up my stage career, yes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: burn the politeness.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:36 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me it's usually "After the many drinks comes the dance."
posted by tommasz at 9:36 AM on April 18, 2011


Nothing some money, nothing of Swiss.
posted by reductiondesign at 10:13 AM on April 18, 2011


Seja a quem for que pergunte por mim, dizei-lhe que não estou em casa.
No matter who comes asking for me, tell him that I'm not at home.
ES: Whoever which ask me, tell him that i am no in there.
B: Either to who it will be that it asks for me, you say to it that I am not in house.


C: Dave's not here!
posted by dirigibleman at 10:21 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite part so far:

Games.

Football-ball | Pile
Bar | Mall
Gleek | Even or non even
Carousal | Keel
posted by creasy boy at 10:34 AM on April 18, 2011


Irritatingly, it won't let you download that Kindle version to a UK Kindle, and there's only paid versions on Amazon UK. So, thanks for that Project Gutenberg link, Iridic!
posted by Richard Holden at 10:37 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Hey everyone, lets play Bar!"

"Hooray!"

"I'll get the glasses."
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


How was your day, MD?

Well you know what they say, "To craunch the marmoset."
posted by MasonDixon at 10:41 AM on April 18, 2011


I fully plan on integrating many of these new-to-me 'familiar phrases' in my everyday conversations. Have you say that?


Also, I seem to have misplaced both my skate, and my busk. Whatever that is.
posted by sandraregina at 10:55 AM on April 18, 2011


He laughs at my nose, he jest by me.
He has spit in my coat.
He has me take out my hairs.
He does me some kicks.
He has scratch the face with hers nails.
He burns one's self the brains.
I hear Mark E. Smith when I read that.
posted by Webbster at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Isn't craunching marmosets frowned upon these days?
posted by ob at 11:15 AM on April 18, 2011


I have a recent reprint of this. Great stuff.

PS Tongue of Frog
posted by jtron at 11:17 AM on April 18, 2011


Another broken-linked previously, from 2001; I mention it only to give props to MeFi's Own (But Vanished) Portuguese Migs, who posted it.
posted by languagehat at 11:20 AM on April 18, 2011


I always resort to this phrasebook when I meet a stranger in the Alps.
posted by Beardman at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the paunch comes the dance

:The Best of LCD Soundsystem
posted by Beardman at 11:59 AM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's the Google Books scan of the original 1855 edition.
posted by gubo at 12:03 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


isn't this a double? I've definitely seen this before, and could have sworn it was mefi...
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 12:32 PM on April 18, 2011


Wait, sorry, I missed the previously link. I knew I remembered it though...
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 12:34 PM on April 18, 2011


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He laughs at my nose, he jest by me.
He does me some kicks.

...

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. He has spit in my coat. He has me take out my hairs."

Then they will say to him, "Lord, when did we ever spit in your coat, or have you take out your hairs?"

And the King will say, "Whenever you did it for the least of mine, you did it for Me."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:02 PM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I first read the tag "englishassheisspoke" as "English ass sheiss poke". ("Scheisse" is the German word for sh*t.)
posted by WalkingAround at 1:39 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe wins.
posted by eritain at 1:53 PM on April 18, 2011


Interesting choice for the title of this post, since that one is in the extreme minority of retaining its original sense and meaning; it's just got some minor grammar damage.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:59 PM on April 18, 2011


ROU_Xenophobe wins.
posted by eritain at 4:53 PM on April 18 [+] [!]

Indeed, that answer made me cry with laughter.
posted by sweetkid at 2:37 PM on April 18, 2011


Where are you guys finding the original Portuguese phrases?
posted by Joe Chip at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2011


Triple
posted by Daddy-O at 3:48 PM on April 18, 2011


Using some creative Google-booksing of French terms (the historian's secret weapon!), I've determined that the original source of the Portuguese phrasebook would almost certainly have been one of the many eighteenth-century editions of Abel Boyer's The compleat French-master for ladies and gentlemen... (1st ed. 1694). I'm working on finding the actual edition, but I don't know Portuguese, so I can't tell if the text was republished anywhere there (and I don't really know where to look). What's interesting is how selective they were in picking out words and phrases--for instance, the initial vocabulary section omits the whole religious glossary that heads off, as far as I can tell, every single edition of Boyer. They also rearrange the text substantially. My suspicion is that the edition they're using is a French one (although not this Briasson edition), due to the alphabetization of the vocabulary: the only way the astros-neblina-calor sequence makes any sense is if they're translating directly from astres-brouillard-chaleur. This would make a neat book history paper if I had time to do it.
posted by nasreddin at 4:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hmm, reading a little more about it, it looks like Carolino "adapted" Jose da Fonseca's Portuguese-French phrasebook. That means there are three possibilities:
1) The Fonseca phrasebook and the Boyer book were used together in some way to create Carolino's version.
2) The Fonseca phrasebook was itself a translated or adapted version of Boyer's book.
3) The Fonseca phrasebook and Boyer's book both go back to some canonical Ur-text for French phrasebooks, possibly based on some sort of classical model.

I'm convinced that Boyer's book was involved, because the phrase "il me rit au nez, il se moque de moi" (the French original of "He laughs at my nose, he jest by me," pointed out in the preface) appears nowhere else in the entire Google Books canon--on the same page as the spitting and hair-pulling phrases, no less.
posted by nasreddin at 5:08 PM on April 18, 2011


I cannot, I have ham
posted by pmb at 9:20 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I heard about English As She Is Spoke at around the same time I read Cordwainer Smith's eerie Scanners Live in Vain. The eponymous Scanners, a brotherhood of space workers whose brains are unhooked from their sensory apparata for reasons of occupational safety, temporarily approximate normal life using the "cranching wire" to restore function. Their guild has secret rituals akin to those of the Masons (or any of a number of secret societies, which are often named after animals. Like Marmosets.)

From there it's just a short mental stagger to Cranching the Marmosets. Which would also make a great name for a band. A filk band, anyway.

The sad thing is that Paul Linebarger (one of whose pen names was Cordwainer Smith) was an odd enough fella he might well have seen the logic.
posted by gingerest at 11:58 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Triple
posted by Daddy-O


Have fun with the oh-so-totally-working links from that post.
posted by item at 6:34 AM on April 19, 2011


sometimes you craunch the marmoset, sometimes the marmoset craunches you.
posted by Makwa at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2011


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