Girls and Boys

For my birthday I received a copy of English As She Is Spoke from friends, who probably bought it having noticed how much I enjoyed Lost in Translation. The introduction notes that the first edition published in the United States had an introduction by one Mark Twain, and goes on to say:

“Inevitably the bizarre originality of English As She Is Spoke gave rise to a series of spin-offs, including English As She Is Wrote (1883), and Caroline Row’s 1887 collection English As She Is Taught: Being genuine answers to examination questions in our public schools. The former quickly slipped into obscurity, but for the latter Mark Twain reprised his editorial role, writing a glowing introduction. He singled out this entry as “the funniest (genuine) boy’s composition I think I have ever seen”:


Girls are very stuckup and dignefied in their maner and be have your. They think more of dress than anything and like to play with dowls and rags. They cry if they see a cow in the far distance and are afraid of guns. They stay at home all the time and go to church on Sunday. They are al-ways sick. They are al-ways funy and making fun of boy’s hands and they say how dirty. They cant play marbels. I pity them poor things. They make fun of boys and then turn around and love them. I dont beleave they ever kiled a cat or anything. They look out every nite and say oh ant the moon lovely. Thir is one thing I have not told and that is they al-ways now their lessons bettern boys.”


6 thoughts on “Girls and Boys

  1. Erik R. November 17, 2008 / 1:41 pm

    I wonder what Twain would have thought of lolcats.


  2. sgazzetti November 17, 2008 / 9:41 pm

    I love “English As She Is Spoke”. I got it a few Christmases ago from a sister who would know that I would like such things. I was unaware of these other books except that it appears that the writer you quote above was in my English Composition class at the University of Montana in 1998 or 1999.


  3. J November 18, 2008 / 2:27 am

    Wow, that’s fairly pathetic!


  4. Di November 18, 2008 / 6:40 am

    A belated Happy Birthday! 🙂

    Hope you had a lovely day.


  5. Helen D November 18, 2008 / 2:50 pm

    Cool – must have been a good pressie if it got blogged … Pressure is on for next year then 😉

    I love the way you can almost hear the accent in the spelling.


  6. Peter November 18, 2008 / 8:35 pm

    I love this unintentional humour – reminds me of Google Translate 😉

    Happy belated birthday!


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