Saturday, 19 September 2009

How To Talk Like A Pirate Day

It be September 19th and that, me hearties, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Sail your pirate ships into the bay, drop anchor and I'll give ye the clues to unearth the little known treasure that is talking like a pirate.

All hands to the pumps, for a flood of pirate knowledge be comin' right for ye!

First of all, we need to know what sort of pirates we're talking about.

Today is not a day to say "zomg I've illegally downloaded Harry Potter And The Deadly Hallows off The Pirate Bay". That is not the kind of pirate this day is all about.

And don't worry, you won't need to learn Somali, as it isn't about that type of pirate either.

No, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is all about talking like the classic era pirates of the 1500 – 1700s. More specifically, it is about talking like our modern, heavily romanticised version of them.

This is the kind of pirate we need to try and talk like today.

He has all the traditional pirate regalia – eyepatch, big hat with skull and crossbones, a hook for a hand, a peg leg, a cutlass, big gold ear-rings and of course a parrot.

The parrot will almost certainly be able to say "pieces of eight" (referring to coins used back in classic pirate days) and "who's a pretty boy then", which is a question that was finally answered with the release of Pirates of the Carribean. According to women across the world, Captain Jack Sparrow, aka Johnny Depp, is a pretty boy.

So now we have established what sort of pirate we are aiming to talk like, we need to learn some of their lingo.

How to talk like a Pirate

The following words and phrases should be all you need to get started – by the end your pirate-talking should be the envy all your friends and family.

Ahoy – although no-one has yet discovered what a hoy actually is, the word ahoy is used by Pirates at every opportunity, and means "hello" but also "spotted". If a Pirate spots you, he will probably say "Ahoy there!" in greeting. If he spots land, he will say "Land ahoy!".

Landlubber – it means "a person who should stay on land because they're not cut out for the nautical life" (literally a "land lover"), and is often used as an insult.

Avast! - Means "stop", or "listen", so a Pirate Captain might cry out "Avast me hearties" when he wants his crew to stop what they are doing and pay attention.

Me hearties – means "my friends", often used to refer to the crew of the pirate's ship. Also "maties" (singular: matey).

Grog – a proper Pirate drink this be, made from water and rum.

Shiver me timbers – an exclamation of surprise.

Lily-livered – cowardly

Jolly Roger – a Pirate flag, almost always black, and usually depicting a skull and crossbones

Ye – you

be – is / am / are. As in "We be Pirates, I be the Captain, and they be lily-livered landlubbers!"

Scurvy dogs – a common Pirate insult, referring to the disease scurvy, which resulted from Vitamin C deficiency (which was quite common until the British started carrying supplies of limes on board their ships, earning themselves the nickname "Limeys")

Some general rules to follow when speaking like a Pirate:

Drop any "g"s that occur after "in", so that you be "sailin' the seven seas".

Drop as many "v"s that occur in the middle of words as you can, so its "o'erboard" and "ne'er"

Be generous with your adjectives – don't say "he was a big man", say "A mighty powerful man he was, wi' arms wider'n a grown man's torso"

Play around with the order of words, Yoda style, from time to time: "A mighty great ship this be, maties"

Be loud, and throw in "arrrrs" and "yarrrs" as often as you like.

Put all of these together and you'll pass for a Pirate rather than a lily-livered landlubber, and you might even find some buried treasure!

Even Google can talk like a Pirate - why not give it a try today?

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