Talk Like a Pirate Day

According to the Geek Holidays Calendar today, September 19, was International “Talk Like A Pirate” day.

This holiday springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy. The Wikipedia-page tells us also something more on the origin of the idea:

According to Summers, the day is the only holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. He has stated that during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of D-Day, they chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.

So I tried today to act like a pirate, but I needed some quick lessons.

1. Growl – and scowl often. Pirates don’t use a cultured, elegant, smooth vocalization – they mutter and growl.
2. Use pirate lingo. Sounding like a pirate isn’t as hard as it seems! There are lots of resources for picking up pirate “lingo,” so make use of them (some common terms listed below) in addition to trying to affect a vocal sound. Avoid using modern epithets (swear words). It’s much more colorful (and kid-friendly) to use “pirate slang” for those naughty words.
3. Gesture with your hands frequently. Don’t forget that pirates do most of their talking on the deck of a ship – out on the ocean, where wind, waves, and bird calls make it tough to hear. Gesturing often gives you a sense of “being there.”
4. Run words together. Saying, “The boys and I were out for a lovely day on the water today” sounds like something you’d overhear at a yacht club, not out on the bounding main! Instead, try, “Me’n’these here scurvy scallywags drug our sorry keesters out t’th’ship’n’had us a grand great adventuaaarrr! We almost had t’keelhaul Mad Connie f’r gettin inter th’ grog behind our backs!” Use contractions whenever possible. Be sure to punctuate often with “Arrrr!”
Never use “you” or “you’re” – ever. Instead, use the piratical form, “yer” or “ya” for all forms of address to others. “Yer a scurvy bilge rat, ya pompous gasbag” or “Here’s yer dinner, ya mangy cockroach.” Note that you should always endeavor to call the addressee by some insulting name, usually involving an animal.
6. Embellish at will. A pirate is larger than life, and his or her speech should always reflect this. Don’t just say, “We saw a whale off the starboard bow today.” Say, “Me’n’th’ crew seen a great grand sea beastie, th’ mother of all whales, aye!”
7. Refer to yourself as “me” at all times, never “I” It is not piratically correct to say, “I have a cold.” It is far better as a pirate to declare, “Got me a case o’th’sniffles, ‘ass rye!”
8. More importantly, substitute “me” for “my” For example, don’t say, “Look at my new sword,” say “Lookit me new sword!.” Also substitute “meself” for “myself” as in “Got meself a right fine ship!”
9. Mutter unintelligibly unless yelling. Being a pirate usually meant being liquored up to some degree – a lot of time, pirates were pretty mush-mouthed. In the step preceding, the term “‘ass rye” actually translates to “that’s right.” Get it?
10. Be as loud as humanly possible. Pirates are not shy violets – stand tall, me hearties, and be counted!
11. Procure one dead stuffed parrot and sew feet to right shoulder of 2nd hand store jacket. This will put you in the mood to adhere to the above mentioned rules and guarantee an abundance of “yers and arghs”.

The next step was to expand my vocabulary: I found one at the Dutch “Talk Like A Pirate” Day-website.
Unfortunately it took some practice, so before I got the hang of it, the day was over.
Arrr! I’ll have to wait another year.

September 28 is “Ask A Stupid Question Day”. That will be even more difficult for me.

Leave a Reply

  • The Aesthetics and Beauty of Knowledge

    Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge – various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories – to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge – this was shih.

    – David Zindell, The Broken God, 1993

  • Geek Attitude

    The attitude thing is about flexibility, portability, creativity, sociability and jamming (ran out of suitable “ity” words!). It’s about improvising – in the practical and musical senses of the word; not getting tangled in boundaries and the “right” way to do things.
    Definitely the only way to travel.
    Martin Delaney – “Laptop Music”.