International Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19, be a holiday created in days of 1995 yore by John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur ‘n Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers, o’ Albany, Oregon. They proclaimed the day fer everyone in th’ world t’ natter like a pirate.  Ye ken tha’ ary observer o’ this holiday would greet hearties nah wit’ “Hello, fellows!” but wit’ “Ahoy, maties!” or “Ahoy, me hearties!”

Skull and cross bones pirate flag

Accordin’ t’ Summers, th’ day be th’ only known holiday t’ come into bein’ as a result o’ a sports injury. Durin’ a game o’ racquetball betwixt Summers ‘n Baur, one o’ them reacted t’ th’ pain wit’ an outburst o’ “Aaarrr!”, ‘n due t’ th’ addictive nature o’ natterin’ like a pirate, they both began respondin’ t’ th’ others shots as ”a fine blow across me yardarm,” or “a masterful broadside thar, me hearty!”

That game loot galleon on June 6, 1995, but out o’ respect fer th’ observance o’ th’ Normandy landin’s, they chose Summers’ ex-beauty’s birthday, as ‘twould be easy fer ‘im t’ remember.  At first ‘twas an inside joke between two hearties, th’ holiday gained exposure when Baur ‘n Summers sent a letter about thar invented holiday t’ th’ American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002, who scribed a column about th’ glorious new holiday.  ‘n tha’ as they say on thar site, was that; it all went t’ Davy Jones’ locker in the briny deeps of hades.  Presumably in a good way.

So go forth ‘n spend th’ day as a buccaneer, sailin’ th’ seas in search o’ booty ‘n adventure.  T’ start ye on yer voyage, ye can seek out th’ website o’ th’ holiday’s creators if ye pine fer helpful information as ye kine, pirate booty to be gathered, ‘n tips on how t’ be th’ most fearsome pirate ye can be.

Cat pirate

Natterin’ like a pirate be more than jus’ sayin’ “Arrr” every so often, but th’ archetypal pirate word (which be sometimes pronounced “Yarrr!”), means aye in England’s West Country parlance.  First we saw it in ye fiction works as early as 1934 in th’ film Treasure Island, starrin’ Lionel Barrymore, ‘n was used by a character in th’ 1940 novel Adam Penfeather, Buccaneer by Jeffery Farnol. However, ’twas Robert Newton’s use o’ it in th’ classic 1950 Disney retellin’ o’ Treasure Island that popularized th’ interjection ‘n cemented its galleon in th’ annals o’ yore. It has been speculated that th’ word ‘n accent has been associated wit’ pirates ’cause o’ th’ West Country’s strong maritime heritage, where fer many centuries fishin’ was th’ main industry (‘n smugglin’ the major unmentionable one), ‘n where thar were several major ports. As a result, West Country speech in general, ‘n Cornish speech in particular, may ‘ave been a major influence on a generalized British nautical speech (the toff whoresons,) ‘n th’ Pirate accent in specific.

Although thar was likely a variety o’ accents in th’ actual heyday o’ piracy, ’cause a ship’s complement would include seamen from all walks o’ life who had made th’ choice t’ sail under th’ black Jolly Roger, from captains licensed by their glorious monarchs, t’ those out fer thar owns reasons.  ’twas a meritocracy, ‘n it worked well as a form o’ government when each day could be yer last.  So th’ lesson t’ be learned be that natterin’ like a pirate be prolly more fun than bein’ a pirate was, but at least ’twas a society based on livin’ each day as fully as possible, ‘n makin’ sure that ye experienced everythin’ ye could ‘n did all that was available t’ ye.

Jack Sparrow to err is human to arr is pirate talk like a pirate day

Commandeer th’ day as if ye were lootin’ command o’ th’ enemy’s flagship, ‘n raisin’ th’ Jolly Roger t’ stake yer claim.  Raise yer mug o’ grog t’ th’ sea, ‘n th’ ghosts o’ th’ departed, ‘n th’ adventures ‘n booty that still awaits.

Aye, me hearties, th’ world be thar t’ grab ‘n loot fer yer owns.

T’ help ye celebrate, here be a recipe fer American Grog.

Jack Sparrow Why is the rum always gone

A Staple Fer Every Privateer

  • 1 measure dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • lemon juice
  • stick o’ cinnamon

Serve in mug. Top wit’ hot water.  Heavy be your pour, ‘cause today we battle!

Tony Moir is a cyborg who holds world records in synchronized luge and panda steeplechase. Or maybe he isn’t. But he lives in San Francisco with his lovely wife and three outstanding sons.

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