There’s that old joke, the one that goes, “What was that pirate movie rated?”
“Arrrrr, me matey!”
Okay so then, what was the Boston pirate movie rated?
That’s right. It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, as decided by … actually, wait, who declares all these endless days? We’re still recovering from Wednesday, aka National Cheeseburger Day. According to the official website, International Talk Like a Pirate Day dates to 1995, when two random guys declared it so. Now, years later, you can celebrate by taking your kids to ITLAPD events at local bookstores and museums. It’s recognized by Google. It happens every September 19, because why not?
Well, if you’ve got a strong Boston accent, you’ve got one reason to stay on the sidelines. Though, if you’re feeling left out, a little research into the modern conception of a “pirate accent” might help. The dialect that’s heavy on the “r’s” was popularized in Hollywood depictions of pirates in the 20th century, and it’s based on the dialect of southwest England, from whence a lot of famous 18th century pirates came. But a Slate article that investigates whether pirates actually went around saying “arrrr” has some good news:
So, was there a typical pirate accent at all? Among British outlaws, yes: The onboard speech was most likely underclass British sailor with extra curse words, augmented with a polyglot slang of French, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch picked up around the trade routes. “Arrrrr” is mostly fiction, as are a number of the other affiliated signifiers.
Wait, you know who else has difficulty pronouncing their “r’s?” Underclass British sailors! (Probably?) So a lot of actual pirates would have as much difficulty with Talk Like a Pirate Day as they’re having over in Southie today. Yarrr, there be some good news.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2013/09/19/ahh-matey-talkin-like-pirate-hahd-boston/
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