For a long time I’ve read, peripherally, the phrase “English as she is spoke”, but only recently I found out that there actually is a book by that name. Here’s the book description from one of the links above:

In 1855, when José 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. Armed with Fonseca and Carolino’s guide, a Portuguese traveler can insult a barber (“What news tell me? All hairs dresser are newsmonger”), complain about the orchestra (“It is a noise which to cleve the head”), go hunting (“let aim it! let make fire him”), and consult a handy selection of truly mystifying “Idiotisms and Proverbs.”

Here are some gems from the “Proverbs” section:

Take the occasion for the hairs.

To do a wink to some body.

So many go the jar to spring, than at last rest there.

To craunch the marmoset.

To buy cat in pocket.

And here’s some more information and an explanation for the whole thing. It seems that the much-maligned José da Fonseca was simply the author of a competently-written French phrasebook for Portuguese speakers, and that the otherwise unknown Pedro Carolino simply translated the French phrases word-for-word into English from a dictionary. A footnote says:

The Proverbs and Idiotisms deserve a quick note, here, since they inspire a special wonder in the reader who knows a little Portuguese or Spanish. Fonseca’s virtues and Carolino’s flaws butt heads in this portion of the book. Fonseca made a point of translating Portuguese figures of speech into French not by rendering them word for word, but by giving a French idiom of equivalent sense; but Carolino, in his turn, simply substituted English words for the French.

Indeed, most of the samples make some sense when you retranslate them word-for-word into French… fascinating.