Friday, September 19, 2014

Why Do Pirates Talk Like That?

Blackbeard the Pirate                           Engraving, Benjamin Cole, ca. 1724

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I'm sure the number of  "arrrrrhhs" and "shiver me timbers" heard today brought out some smiles and responses. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the lighter intentions of the day but being curious I've decided to share some information about the who, what, when, where, and how of pirate talk. Do enjoy.

Arrr Matey! The Origins of the Pirate Accent  A strong case for the origin of pirate talk.

Pirate R As In I R Eland?  This is a potential alternate explanation to the link above.

West Country Dialects  A comprehensive resource on speech in Southwest England.

Bristol Dialect/Glossary   A focused look at words and phrases from a Southwest England county.

Sid Totter (b. 1877): Listen to him speak in a 1950's West Country dialect.

And here is Robert Newton, a.k.a. Long John Silver, displaying his Dorset accent in a reading  of a short poem:

And here is Newton as Long John Silver:

Not sure I care much about the origins after hearing Newton's performance again. I was four years-old when he appeared in Walt Disney's Treasure Island (1950). He'll always be my personification of the perfect pirate, me hearties.

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