Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pára comprár.

A second dialogue from "English as She is Spoke," published in Paris in 1855 and since then periodically re-printed for the amusement of all - and for the terror of those who study foreign languages (I was one of them) who fear their teachers, for reasons of sadism or incompetence, are preparing them in this manner. The first was here.
Pára comprár. For to buy.

Quê quér Vm.?What will you have, sir.
Quéro úm bòm ê boníto pânno pâra vestído.I won't have a good and fine cloth to make a coat.
Eis úm excellênte ê múito dâ móda.Here is it a much fine and who bear now.
Agráda-me â côr; pôrem o pânno não é múito fórte; não têm côrpo.I like very much this colour; but the cloth is not strong enough, it is too thin.
Vêja ésta péça: Vm. não achará em párte nenhúma ôutra tão bôa cômo élla: ô pânno é excellênte.Look that piece, sir, you do not find one so much fine else where; the cloth is very good.
Quânto péde Vm. pôr câda vára?How much do you sell it the ell?
O sêu jústo prêço é três míl duzênos ê ôito réis.We thout overcharge you from a halfpenny, it cost twenty franks.
Senhôr, eû não costúmo regateár; díga-me ô último prêço.Sir, i am not accustomed to cheapen; tell me the last price.
Já lhê dísse quê aquêlle é ô sêu jústo prêço.I have told you, sir, it is valuable in that.
E caríssimo, dár-lhê-hêi dôus míl oito-cêntos ê oitênta réis.It is too much dear, i give at it, eighteen franks.
Não pósso abâter úm seitíl.There is not only half-penny to beat down.
Não lhê darêi ô quê mê péde.Vou shall not have what you have wished.

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At 1:56 PM, Blogger Badaunt said...

My students talk like this!

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Bernadette said...


This reminded me of my eldest daughter's college experience at Universite Blaise Pascal, where she was required to learn to speak Spanish from a French textbook...She prevailed!

At 9:24 PM, Blogger kenju said...

This sounds like an email I got this week from MSN tech support, all of whom speak English as a second (or maybe third) language.

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

Leave it to Americans!

You should hear yourselves speaking other languages. Sad thing is that some of us understand--only to wish we didn't.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger melinama said...

Miguel, I'm sorry this post made you feel hostile. The point is not that many of us have trouble speaking each other's languages but that this book was PUBLISHED to make things BETTER, but the author - setting himself up as an authority - actually didn't know English at all. He used a Portuguese-French and then a French-English dictionary to do his translations.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

Once again, I did not use enough smiley faces.

My comment, far from hostile, sought to poke fun at Americans in general on their foreign language skills. I see your point regarding this other work, and I also find it funny.

As I have heard it, the joke goes like this: Q: What do you call somebody who speaks 3 or more languages? A: a poliglot (i might misspell) Q: someone who speaks 2? A: bilingual Q: one? A: American.

I'm sure it would have applied the same way to the French at the turn of the century or the Russians behind the iron curtain.

Note how it's always the people in the southern hemisphere having to learn northern-hemisphere languages.

Oh, well...


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