The titlepage for the Standard Ebooks edition of English as She Is Spoke, by Pedro Carolino and José da Fonseca


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From the time of Shakespeare downwards, wits and authors innumerable have made themselves and the public more or less merry at the expense of the earlier efforts of the student of a strange tongue; but it has been reserved to our own time for a soi disant instructor to perpetrate⁠—at his own expense⁠—the monstrous joke of publishing a Guide to Conversation in a language of which it is only too evident that every word is utterly strange to him. The Teutonic sage who evolved the ideal portrait of an elephant from his “inner consciousness” was a commonplace, matter-of fact person compared with the daring visionary who conjures up a complete system of language from the same fertile but untrustworthy source. The piquancy of Senhor Pedro Carolino’s New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English is enhanced by the evident bona fides and careful compilation of “the little book,” or as Pedro himself gravely expresses it, “for the care what we wrote him, and for her typographical correction.”

In short, the New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English was written with serious intent, and for the purpose of initiating Portuguese students into the mysteries of the English language. The earlier portions of the book are divided into three columns, the first giving the Portuguese; the second what, in the opinion of the author, is the English equivalent; and the third the English equivalent phonetically spelt, so that the tyro may at the same time master our barbarous phraseology and the pronunciation thereof. In the second part of the work the learner is supposed to have sufficiently mastered the pronunciation of the English language, to be left to his own devices.

A little consideration of the shaping of our author’s English phrases leads to the conclusion that the materials used have been a Portuguese⁠–⁠French phrasebook and a French⁠–⁠English dictionary. With these slight impedimenta has the daring Lusitanian ventured upon the unknown deep of a strange language, and the result, to quote again from the Preface, “May be worth the acceptation of the studious persons, and especially of the Youth, at which we dedicate him particularly,” but will at all events contribute not a little to the Youth’s hilarity.

To begin with the vocabulary; it is perhaps hardly fair to expect a professor of languages to trouble himself with “Degrees of Kindred,” still, such titles as “Gossip mistress, a relation, an relation, a guardian, an guardian, the quater-grandfather, the quater-grandmother,” require some slight elucidation, and passing over the catalogue of articles of dress which are denominated “Objects of Man” and “Woman Objects,” one may take exception to “crumbs” and “groceries,” which are inserted among plates and cruets as ordinary table garniture.

Among what are denominated “Eatings” we find “some wigs,” “a dainty dishes,” “a mutton shoulder,” “a little mine,” “hog-fat,” and “an amelet”: the menu is scarcely appetising, especially when among “Fishes and Shellfishes” our Portuguese Lucullus sets down the “hedgehog,” “snail,” and “wolf.” After this such trifles as “starch” arranged under the heading of “Metals and Minerals,” and “brick” and “whitelead” under that of “Common Stones” fall almost flat; but one would like to be initiated into the mysteries of “gleek,” “carousal,” and “keel,” which are gravely asserted to be “Games.” Among “Chivalry Orders” one has a glimmering of what is intended by “Saint Michaelmas” and “Very-Merit”; but under the heading of “Degrees,” although by a slight exercise of the imagination we can picture to ourselves “a quater master,” “a general to galeries,” or even a “vessel captain,” we are entirely nonplussed by “a harbinger” and “a parapet.”

Passing on to “Familiar Phrases,” most of which appear to be old friends with new faces, Senhor Carolino’s literal cribs from the French become more and more apparent, in spite of his boast in the Preface of being “clean of gallicisms and despoiled phrases.” “Apply you at the study during that you are young” is doubtless an excellent precept, and as he remarks further on “How do you can it to deny”; but study may be misdirected, and in the moral, no less than in the material world, it is useful to know. “That are the dishes whom you must be and to abstain”; while the meaning of “This girl have a beauty edge” is scarcely clear unless it relates to the preternatural acuteness of the fair sex in these days of board schools and woman’s rights.

Further on the conversationalist appears to get into rough company, and we find him remarking “He laughs at my nose, he jest by me,” gallicé “Il me rit au nez, il se moque de moi”; “He has me take out my hairs,” “He does me some kicks,” “He has scratch the face with hers nails,” all doubtless painfully translated with the assistance of a French⁠–⁠English dictionary from “Il m’a arraché les cheveux,” “Il me donne des coups-de-pied,” “Il m’a laceré la figure de ses ongles.” It is noticeable that our instructor as a rule endeavours to make the possessive pronoun agree with the substantive in number and gender in orthodox Portuguese fashion, and that like a true grammatical patriot he insists upon the substantive having the same gender as in his native tongue; therefore “às unhas” must be rendered “hers nails” and “vóssas civilidádes” “yours civilities.” By this time no one will be disposed to contradict our inimitable Pedro when he remarks “E facéto” giving the translation as “He has the word for to laugh,” a construction bearing a suspicious resemblance to “Il a le mot pour rire.” “He do the devil at four” has no reference to an artful scheme for circumventing the Archfiend at a stated hour, but is merely a simulacrum of the well-known gallic idiomatic expression “Il fait le diable à quatre.” Truly this is excellent fooling; Punch in his wildest humour, backed by the whole colony of Leicester Square, could not produce funnier English. “He burns one’s self the brains,” “He was fighted in duel,” “They fight one’s selfs together,” “He do want to fall,” would be more intelligible if less picturesque in their original form of “Il se brûle la cervelle,” “Il s’est battu en duel,” “Ils se battent ensemble,” “Il manque de tomber.” The comic vein running through the “Familiar Phrases” is so inexhaustible that space forbids further quotation from this portion of the book, which may be appropriately closed with “Help to a little most the better yours terms,” a mysterious adjuration, which a reference to the original Portuguese leads one to suppose may be a daring guess at “Choisissez un peu mieux vos paroles.”

In the second part, entitled “Familiar Dialogues,” the fun grows fast and furious. Let us accompany our mad wag upon “The walk.” “You hear the bird’s gurgling?” he enquires, and then rapturously exclaims “Which pleasure! which charm! The field has by me a thousand charms”; after this, to the question “Are you hunter? will you go to the hunting in one day this week?” he responds “Willingly; I have not a most pleasure in the world. There is some game on they cantons.” Proceeding from “game” to “gaming” we soon run aground upon the word “jeu,” which as we know does duty in French both for a game and a pack of cards. “At what pack will you that we does play?” “To the cards.” Of course this is “A quel jeu voulez vous que nous jouions?” “Aux cartes;” and further on “This time I have a great deal pack,” “Cette fois j’ai un jeu excellent!

Now let us listen to our friend at his tailor’s: his greeting is perky⁠—almost slangy. “Can you do me a coat?” he enquires, but quickly drivels down to “What cloth will you do to?” and then to the question “What will you to double (doubler) the coat?” obtains the satisfactory answer “From something of duration. I believe to you that.” After requesting to have his garment “The rather that be possible,” he overwhelms the procrastinating man of cloth with the stern remark “You have me done to expect too,” evidently a bold version of “Vous m’ avez fait trop attendre,” which draws forth the natural excuse “I did can’t to come rather.” Passing by a number of good things which one would like to analyse if space permitted, we arrive at “For to ride a horse,” a fine little bit of word painting almost Carlylean in its grotesqueness. “Here is a horse who have a bad looks. He not sall know to march, he is pursy, he is foundered. Don’t you are ashamed to give me a jade as like? he is undshoed, he is with nails up; it want to lead to the farrier.” “Let us prick (piquons) go us more fast, never I was seen a so much bad beast; she will not nor to bring forward neither put back.” “Strek him the bridle,” cries the horsedealer, “Hold him the rein sharters.” “Pique stron gly, make to marsh him.” “I have pricked him enough. But I can’t to make marsh him,” replies the indignant client. “Go down, I shall make marsh,” declares the dealer; upon which the incensed equestrian rejoins “Take care that he not give you a foot kicks,” and the “coper” sardonically but somewhat incoherently concludes with “Then he kicks for that I look? Sook here if I knew to tame hix.”

After the “Familiar Dialogues” we come upon a series of letters from celebrated personages, who would be puzzled to recognize themselves in their new dresses; and a collection of anecdotes which may be taken singly after dinner as a gentle promoter of digestion; the whole being appropriately concluded with “Idiotisms and Proverbs,” between which it must be confessed the distinction is purely imaginary; the following are a few gems: “Its are some blu stories” (contes bleus); “Nothing some money, nothing some Swiss,” “He sin in trouble water” (confusion of pécher and pêcher). “A horse baared don’t look him the tooth,” “The stone as roll not heap up not foam,” mousse meaning both foam and moss, of course the wrong meaning is essential to a good “idiotism.” “To force to forge, becomes smith” (a force de forger on devient forgeron). “To craunch the marmoset” and “To fatten the foot” may terminate the list, and are incontestably more idiotic, although scarcely so idiomatic as “Croquer le marmot” and “Graisser la patte.”

The column in Portuguese which runs throughout the original work is omitted, and only a sufficient number of the English extracts are culled to enable the reader to form a just idea of the unintentionally humorous style that an author may fall into who attempts to follow the intricacies of “English as she is spoke” by the aid of a French dictionary and a phrasebook.

It is to be trusted the eccentric “Guide” to which this short sketch is intended to serve as Introduction⁠—and, so far as may be, elucidation⁠—is not a fair specimen of Portuguese or Brazilian educational literature; if such be the case the schoolmaster is indeed “abroad,” and one may justly fear that his instruction⁠—to quote once more the Preface⁠—“only will be for to accustom the Portuguese pupils, or foreign, to speak very bad any of the mentioned idioms.”

Author’s Preface

A choice of familiar dialogues, clean of gallicisms, and despoiled phrases, it was missing yet to studious portuguese and brazilian Youth; and also to persons of others nations, that wish to know the portuguese language. We sought all we may do, to correct that want, composing and divising the present little work in two parts. The first includes a greatest vocabulary proper names by alphabetical order; and the second forty three Dialogues adapted to the usual precisions of the life. For that reason we did put, with a scrupulous exactness, a great variety own expressions to english and portuguese idioms; without to attach us selves (as make some others) almost at a literal translation; translation what only will be for to accustom the portuguese pupils, or-foreign, to speak very bad any of the mentioned idioms.

We were increasing this second edition with a phraseology, in the first part, and some familiar letters, anecdotes, idiotisms, proverbs, and to second a coin’s index.

The Works which we were confering for this labour, fond use us for nothing; but those what were publishing to Portugal, or out, they were almost all composed for some foreign, or for some national little acquainted in the spirit of both languages. It was resulting from that corelessness to rest these Works fill of imperfections, and anomalies of style; in spite of the infinite typographical faults which some times, invert the sense of the periods. It increase not to contain any of those Works the figured pronunciation of the english words, nor the prosodical accent in the portuguese; indispensable object whom wish to speak the english and portuguese languages correctly.

We expect then, who the little book (for the care what we wrote him, and for her typographical correction) that may be worth the acceptation of the studious persons, and especially of the Youth, at which we dedicate him particularly.

English as She Is Spoke

Or, A Jest in Sober Earnest

Of the Man

The Brain The inferior lip
The brains The superior lip
The fat of the leg The marrow
The ham The reins

Defects of the body

A blind A left handed
A lame An ugly
A bald A squint-eyed
A deaf

Degrees of kindred

The gossip The quater-grandfather
The gossip mistress The quater-grandmother
The nurse A guardian
A relation An guardian
An relation A widower
An widow


Starch-maker Porter
Barber Chinaman
Coffeeman Founder
Porkshop-keeper Grave-digger
Cartwright Tradesman
Tinker, a brasier Stockingmender
Nailer Lochsmith

Objects of man

The boots The lining
The buckles The clogs
The buttons-holes The wig
The buskins The morning-gown, night-gown

Woman objects

The busk The paint or disguise
The sash The spindle
The cornet The patches
The pumps The skate


Coochmann Spendth
Running footman Business-man


The apoplexy The megrime
The scrofulas The whitlow
The melancholy The rheumatisme
The vomitory

Parties a Town

The butchery The low eating house
The cause-way The obelis-ks
The sink The prison, geol

Kitchen utensils

The skimming-dish The spark
The potlid The fire
The pothanger The smoke
The spunge The clout
The jack

Of the bed

The bed wood The feet’s bed
The bed battom The pillar’s bed
The head’s bed

For the table

Some knifes Some groceries
Some crumb


Some black pudding A little mine
Some sugar-plum Hog fat
Some wigs Some marchpanes
A chitterling sausages An amelet
A dainty-dishes A slice, steak
A mutton shoulder Vegetables boiled to a pap


Some wing Some pinions
Some cinnamon Some hog’slard
Some oranges Some verjuice


Some orgeat Some paltry wine
Some sirup or sirop

Quadruped’s beasts

Lamb Rocbuck
Ass Dragon
Shi ass Wild sow
Ass-colt Lioness
Ram, aries Dormouse


Becafico Heuth-cock
Calander Whoop
Stor Pea cock
Yeung turkey Pinch
Red-breast, a robin


Asp, aspic Fly
Morpion Butter fly

Fishes and shell-fishes

Calamary Large lobster
Dorado Snail
A sorte of fish Wolf
Hedge hog Torpedo


Lote-tree lotos Service-tree
Chest nut-tree Jujube-tree


Anemony Mil-foils
Blue-bottle Hink


Hunting dog Picker
Relay dog Gun-powder
Hound dog Priming-powder
Hound’s fee Hunts man


White Gridelin
Cray Musk

Metals and minerals

Starch Latten
Cooper Plaster

Common stones

Loadstones White lead
Brick Gum-stone


Counterpoise An obole
A pound an half A quater ounce


Foot-ball Pile
Bar Mall
Gleek Even or non even
Carousal Keel


Benzion Pomatum
Perfume paw Storax

On the church

The sides of the nef The little cellal
The holywater-pot The boby of the church


The Deads-day The Vigil
The Twelfth-Day The Visitation

Ecclesiastical dignities

Incumbent General of an order
Canon Penitentiary
Canoness Theologist
Chanter, a clerk General curate

Chivalry orders

Black eagle Elephant
Avis, advice Honour Legion
Calatrava Saint Michaelmas


A cannoneer A general to galeries
A vessel captain A great admiral
A harbinger A king a lieutenant
A parapet A quater master
A army general A vice admiral’s ship

Military objects

The bait The fire pan
An arquebuse A bomb ketch
A bandoleer The military case
A fusil, a gun

Music’s instruments

A flagelet A dreum
A hurdy-gurdy


A fine To break upon
Honourable fine To tear off the flesh
To draw to four horses

Familiar Phrases

End First Part’s

Familiar Dialogues

For to Wish the Good Morning

For Make a Visit in the Morning

For to Dress Him Self

The Walk

The Weather

For to Write

The Gaming

With the Tailor

With a Hair Dresser

For to Breakfast

For to Ask Some News

For to Buy

For to Dine

For to Speak French

For to See the Town

To Inform One’self of a Person

For to Ride a Horse

With a Watch Maker

For to Visit a Sick

For to Travel

With a Inn Keeper

From the House-Keeping

For the Comedy

The Hunting

The Fishing

With a Furniture Tradesman

For Embarking One’s Self

With a Gardener

The Books and of the Reading

The Field

The Writing

With a Bookseller

With a Dentist

With a Laundress

For to Swim

The French Language

Familiar Letters

Racine to M. Vitart

My uncle what will to treat her beshop in a great sumptuouness, he was go Avignon for to buy what one not should find there, and he had leave me the charge to provide all things. I have excellent business, as you see, and I know some thing more than to eat my soup, since I know do to prepare it. I did learn that it must give to the first, to second, and to the third service, by dishes that want to join, and yet some thing more; because we does pretend make a feast at four services without to account the dessert.

Good bye, my dear sir, etc.

Mothe to the duchess of the Maine

My lady, I have a complaint to present you. So much happy that might be one’s self, one have not all theirs eases in this world. Your letters are shortest. You have plaied wonderfully all sentiments; less her prattle, etc.

Montesquieu to the abbot Nicolini

Allow me, my dear abbot, who I remind me of your friendship. I recommend you M. of the Condamine. I shall tell you nothing, else he is a of my friends. Her great celebrity may tell you from others things, and her presence will say you the remains. My dear abbot, I will love you even the death.


Cuttler, a very rich man too many avaricious, commonly he was travel at a horse, and single for to avoid all expenses. In the evening at to arrive at the inn did feign to be indispose, to the end that one bring him the supper. He did ordered to the stable knave to bring in their room some straw, for to put in their boots he made to warm her bed and was go lo sleep. When the servant was draw again, he come up again, and with the straw of their boots, and the candle what was leave him he made a small fire where he was roast a herring what he did keep of her pocket. He was always the precaution one to provide him self of a small of bread and one bring up a water bottle, and thus with a little money.

A blind did hide five hundred crowns in a corner of their garden; but a neighbour, which was perceive it, did dig up and took its. The blind not finding more her money, was suspect that might be the robed, but one work for take again it? He was going find the neighbour, and told him that he came to get him a council; than he was a thousand crowns which the half was hided into a sure part and I don’t know if want, if to put the remains to the same part. The neighbour was council him so and was hasten to carry back that sum, in the hope soon to draw out a thousand. But the blind having finded the money, was seized it, having called her neighbour, he told him: “Gossip, the blind saw clearer than this that may have two eyes.”

A man one’s was presented at a magistrate which had a considerable library. “What you make?” beg him the magistrate. “I do some books,” he was answered. “But any of your books I did not seen its.⁠—I believe it so, was answered the author; I mak nothing for Paris. From a of my works is imprinted, I send the edition for America; I don’t compose what to colonies.”

One eyed was laied against a man which had good eyes that he saw better than him. The party was accepted. “I had gain, over said the one eyed; why I see you two eyes, and you not look me who one.”

A english lord was in their bed tormented, cruelly of the gout, when was announced him a pretended physician, which had a remedy sure against that illness. “That doctor came in coach or on foot?” was request the lord. “On foot,” was answered him the servant. “Well, was replied the sick, go tell to the knave what go back one’s self, because if he was the remedy, which he exalt him self, he should roll a coach at six horses, and I would be send for him my self and to offer him the half part of my lands for to be delivered of my sickness.”

A duchess accused of magic being interrogated for a commissary extremely unhandsome, this was beg him selve one she had look the devil. “Yes, sir, I did see him, was answer the duchess, and he was like you as two water’s drops.”

A Lady, which was to dine, chid to her servant that she not had used butter enough. This girl, for to excuse him selve, was bing a little cat on the hand, and told that she came to take him in the crime, finishing to eat the two pounds from butter who remain. The Lady took immediately the cat, was put into the balances it had not weighted that one an half pound.

A countryman which came through to Paris upon the bridge to the change, not had perceived merchandises in several shops. The curiosity take him, he come near of a exchange desk:⁠—“Sir, had he beg from a look simple, tell me what you sell.” The loader though that he may to divert of the personage:⁠—“I sell, was answered him asse’s heads.”⁠—“Indeed, reply to him the countryman, you make of it a great sale, because it not remains more but one in your shop.”

The commander Forbin of Janson, being at a repast with a celebrated Boileau, had undertaken to pun him upon her name:⁠—“What name, told him, carry you thither? Boileau: I would wish better to call me Drink wine.” The poet was answered him in the same tune:⁠—“And you, sir, what name have you choice? Janson: I should prefer to be named John-Meal. The meal don’t is valuable better than the furfur?”

A physician eighty years of age had enjoied of a health unalterable. Theirs friends did him of it compliments every days: “Mister doctor, they said to him, you are admirable man. What you make then for to bear you as well?⁠—I shall tell you it, gentlemen he was answered them, and I exhort you in same time at to follow my exemple. I live of the product of my ordering without take any remedy who I command to my sicks.”

A countryman was confessed to the parson to have robbed a mutton at a farmer of her neighbourhood. “My friend, told him the confessor, it must to return, or you shall not have the absolution.⁠—But repply the villager, I had eated him.⁠—So much worse, told him the pastor; you vill be the devil sharing; because in the wide vale where me ought to appear we before God every one shall spoken against you, even the mutton. How! repply the countryman, the mutton will find in that part? I am very glad of that; then the restitution shall be easy, since I shall not have to tell to the farmer: “Neighbour take your mutton again.”

Plato walking one’s self a day to the field with some of their friends. They were to see him Diogenes who was in to water untill the chin. The superficies of the water was snowed, for the reserve of the hole that Diogenes was made. “Don’t look it more told them Plato, and he shall get out soon.”

A day came a man consult this philosopher for to know at o’clock it was owe to eat. If thou art rich, told him eat when you shall wish; if you are poor, when you may do.

At the middle of a night very dark, a blind was walk in the streets with a light on the hand and a full jar upon the back. Some one which ran do meet him, and surprised of that light: “Simple that you are, told him, what serve you this light? The night and the day are not them the same thing by you!⁠—It is not for me, was answering the blind, that I bring this light, it is to the and that the giddie swhich seem to you do not come to run against me, and make to break my jar.”

Idiotisms and Proverbs


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English as She Is Spoke
was published in 1855 by
Pedro Carolino and José da Fonseca.

This ebook was produced for
Standard Ebooks
Alex Cabal,
and is based on a transcription produced in 2009 by
Doran Gaston
Project Gutenberg
and on digital scans available at
Google Books
and the
Internet Archive.

The cover page is adapted from
Self-Portrait, the Silence,
a painting completed circa 1790 by
Joseph Ducreux.
The cover and title pages feature the
League Spartan and Sorts Mill Goudy
typefaces created in 2014 and 2009 by
The League of Moveable Type.

The first edition of this ebook was released on
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