LISTEN: English as She Is Spoke: The World's Worst Phrasebook

English as She Is Spoke 600

Pedro Carolino's Portuguese-English phrasebook includes such tortured English phrases as "The ears are too length" and "He has spit in my coat."

In 1855 Pedro Carolino decided to write a Portuguese-English phrasebook despite the fact that he didn't actually speak English. The result is one of the all-time masterpieces of unintentional comedy, a language guide full of phrases like "They shurt him the doar in face" and "She do not that to talk and to cackle." In today's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll sample Carolino's phrasebook, which Mark Twain called "supreme and unapproachable."

We'll also hear Hamlet's "to be or not to be" rendered in jargon and puzzle over why a man places an ad before robbing a bank.

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