English As She Is Spoke is a broken Portuguese-to-English phrasebook written by two translators, José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino. Sort of. You see, in reality, translator Pedro Carolino wanted to create a phrasebook on his own. Not knowing English, he took José da Fonseca’s French-to-English phrasebook and then used a Portuguese-to-French phrasebook to translate that. It’s sort of like what you and your friends do on Google Translate, but with a poor, misled Portuguese man doing it by hand in candlelight.
Friends passed it to friends who giggled over — even then — unintentionally sexual phrases such as, “He do the devil at four.” Soon it was republished in America and England under its more famous title, quickly becoming a bestseller on both sides of the pond.