Long day today.  I worked about 10 hours, missing church.  Bummer.  I’m tired, and fairly brain-dead.

But that won’t stop me from extolling the many virtues of English as She is Spoke.   This beauty is what you get when a couple of Portuguese guys who don’t speak English get ahold of two dictionaries – Portuguese to French and French to English.  And produce a book on how to speak English.

Mark Twain commented on the book:

Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.

Was he right?   Some examples.

The authors categorize objects in lists.  Under Servants, they list coochmann and spendth.  Under For the table comes some knifes, some groceries, and some crumb. Fishes and shell-fishes consists of

  • Calamary
  • Dorado
  • A sorte of fish
  • Hedge hog
  • Large lobster
  • Snail
  • Wolf
  • Torpedo
  • Sea-calf

And I like these Idiotisms and Proverbs, which come later in the book:

  • Nothing some money, nothing of Swiss
  • They shurt him the doar in face
  • He is beggar as a church rat
  • To buy cat in pocket

and my personal favorite

  • To craunch the marmoset

I deem that Mister Twain spoke rightly.   It is perfect, in a backwards way.  Although that list of fishes reminds me of Borges’ Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge’s Taxonomy

“These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. In its distant pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the emperor; (b) embalmed ones; (c) those that are trained; (d) suckling pigs; (e) mermaids; (f) fabulous ones; (g) stray dogs; (h) those that are included in this classification; (i) those that tremble as if they were mad; (j) innumerable ones; (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s-hair brush; (l) etcetera; (m) those that have just broken the flower vase; (n) those that at a distance resemble flies.”

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