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Talk is….Treasure!

Text by: Blake Werner

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word "treasure"….is Pirates! And yet, is there anything more the antithesis of Polite Society than pirates? So it came as a great surprise when I was asked to write about pirates for this month's edition. Upon further reflection, I decided that a truly polite society is a tolerant society, an accepting society, and above all an open-minded society!

Gentle reader, while we are all aspiring to exemplify politeness in all things, who among us has not, at some moment in life, longed to be a pirate? Thirsted for the excitement and adventure of a buccaneer? Envied the dash, charisma, and wit of the ultimate ne'er-do-well, Captain Jack Sparrow?

© Leisa Tapia Photography

Well, if so, then you're in luck because the 16th annual "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" is just weeks away, and it's time to get up to speed. Boots, swords, scarves, and frilly shirts may or may not be your thing, but there is one surefire way to step into your pirate alter-ego, and that is to start talking like one.

First of all, it really helps to get your game face on. Squint a bit or twist your mouth up into an appropriate snarl. Now give us a gravelly "Aaaarrrrrr!" You may need to work on it a bit. Personally, I've been a big fan of pirates since I first went on the Disneyland ride as a young child, and I like to run through some of the lyrics that they sing along the way.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

Watching any of the Pirate's of the Caribbean movies is also recommended. If you use Facebook, you can even translate your homepage by changing the language to "English (Pirate)" at the bottom of the page. It is only visible to you, but it can help give ideas for proper pirate vernacular.

Now that you're in the mood, let's work on technique. Start by dropping all of your "g"s when you speak to create words like "rowin'", "sailin'" and "fightin'". By dropping all of your "v"s, you will get words like "ne'er", "e'er" and "o'er", instead of "never", "ever", and "over". Additionally, use "I be" instead of "I am" and "Ye be" instead of "You". Here is some vocabulary to get you going:

  • Ahoy: Hey!
  • Avast: Stop!
  • Aye: Yes
  • Booty: Treasure
  • Davy Jones' Locker: any bad place to be.
  • Grog: A pirate's favorite drink.
  • Jolly Roger: The skull and crossbones, the pirate flag!
  • Keelhaul: A threat to coerce a desired action. (They not be survivin' this.)
  • Landlubber: Land-lover. (Generally used as an insult.)
  • Lass: A young woman.
  • Lily-livered: Cowardly; another insult
  • Mate or Matey: A friend (shipmate).
  • Me hearty: A good friend or shipmate.
  • Scallywag: A bad person.
  • Scurvy dog!: A fine insult!
  • Shiver me timbers!: An exclamation of surprise.
  • Squid: A young sailor.
  • Thar: The opposite of "here."
  • Walk the plank: An obvious threat.
  • Wench: A woman.
© Leisa Tapia Photography

Aye, what be ye waitin' fer? Shiver me timbers, raise thar mainsail, get thee underway and be the best pirate ye can be this year!

"It's All in Fun"

(Or translated to "Pirate"- "It Be All For A Larrrrrrrk")

Excerpt from www.talklikeapirate.com.
Before we go any further, there's something we need to be clear about. Pirates were and are bad people. Really reprehensible. Even the most casual exploration of the history of pirates leaves you hip deep in blood and barbarity. We recognize this, all right? We aren't for one minute suggesting that real, honest-to-God pirates were in any way, shape or form worth emulating.

So what is it exactly that we're celebrating here, if not pirates? What, you're wondering, is the point? We're going to be painfully honest here, perhaps fatally so.

The point is, there is no point. And that's what's fun about Talk Like a Pirate Day specifically, and talking like a pirate in general.

See these excellent pirate websites: www.talklikeapirate.com & www.yarr.org.uk to get more information and perfect your diction.