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Cultural-linguistic context for language learning

from Foreign Policy Journal

"English as She Is Spoke" was the unfortunate title of a 19th-century Portuguese-English conversational phrase book, for English learners, written by Pedro Carolino. In the translation community, this book has attained almost legendary status, as a cautionary tale of how not to write a language book and how not to translate. Growing up, whenever Antonio Graceffo had a difficult school exam coming up, his Italian grandmother would say to me, "nella bocca del lupo" or "in the mouth of the wolf." One thing that "nella bocca del lupo" and "English as She Is Spoke" have in common is that they both made a lot more sense in the original language than they did when translated directly into English. more


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