International Talk Like a Pirate Day began on June 6, 1995 during a friendly game of tennis between two friends named John Baur and Mark Summers – they started talking like pirates just for fun, and decided afterwards it was so much fun that they should create a holiday just for the purpose. They celebrated it on their own for seven years. Then they picked September 19 as the official date and found an official sponsor: they convinced humorist Dave Berry to write about it in the Miami Herald, and the rest was history…
Every year since, geeks all over the world celebrate the holiday. And why not? What’s wrong with a few ARRR’s between friends?
In this following video, Summers and Baur join songwriter Tom Smith on stage at CapriCon in 2008 to sing the praises of the holiday. The song has become the anthem of the day. Listen to SCIFI.radio today for Tom Smith’s CD version of the song.
For some more piratical fun, there’s the Monkeyness page that translates English to Pirate.
If you want to use Google in Pirate mode, you can, following these instructions.
There is also a Chrome extension that will translate every page you visit into pirate speak, available free.
ARRR. Almost forgot.
The whole piratical “Arrr” thing deserves some commentary. Pirates came from many different places and did not have a uniform manner of speaking. While some of them may have occasionally said “arr”, it was not a defining characteristic.
The “pirate voice” commonly used today is often attributed to the actor Robert Newton, a native of Dorset, who played Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney adaptation of Treasure Island and its sequel. A New York Times critic at the time described Newton’s performance as “outrageously hammy, to the point of freakishness.”
None the less, the whole notion of pirates saying “yarr” and “shiver me timbers” and “pieces of eight” and other phrases have stuck with us, and now there are two kinds of pirates in the world: the real ones, the ones that run down other people’s boats, steal their cargo and kill their crew, and the fantasy ones with the peg legs, eye patches and the parrots, whose speech sounds like Robert Newton’s West Country accent.
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