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English as she is spoke or, A jest in sober earnest   By:

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English As She is Spoke:

or

A Jest in Sober Earnest.

No. I.

The Parchment Paper Series.

English As She is Spoke.

"EXCRUCIATINGLY FUNNY," says The World , is "English as she is Spoke, or a Jest in Sober thought."

"EVERY one who loves a laugh," says Fun , "should either buy, beg, borrow, or we had almost said steal this book; for in sober earnest we aver that it is not given to every one to 'jest so.'"

English As She is Spoke:

or

A Jest in Sober Earnest.

With an Introduction by

JAMES MILLINGTON.

New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street.

1884.

Introduction

FROM the time of Shakspere 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 phrase book 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 quatergrandfather, 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... Continue reading book >>




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