My Kind of Book

“In 1855, when Jose da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino wrote an English phrasebook for Portuguese students, they faced just one problem: they didn’t know any English. Even worse, they didn’t own an English-to-Portuguese dictionary. What they did have, though, was a Portuguese-to-French dictionary, and a French-to-English dictionary. The linguistic train wreck that ensued is a classic of unintentional humor, now revived in the first newly selected edition in a century.”

The original — well into the public domain by now — seems to be archived online, for those hesitant to pay for a book in broken English. (Or for those who love the typography in old books.)

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