Posted in books, Events, films & DVD, Humour

Yarr! Shiver mi timbers

International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD, is celebrated annually on September 19. It was created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who said everyone in the world should talk like a pirate on September 19, saying things like “Ahoy, matey!” Instead of Hello and “Shiver mi Timbers!”. The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy. The idea for the event came about during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, when one of them reacted to pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. John Baur and Mark Summers then sent a letter about their invented holiday to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002 and he promoted the day, Which has been described as a holiday for members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Pirates are also associated with peg legs, parrots, and treasure maps, as popularized in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island (1883). English actor Robert Newton, who specialized in portraying pirates, especially Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island, the 1954 Australian film Long John Silver, and as the title character in the 1952 film Blackbeard the Pirate, is described as the “patron saint” of Talk Like A Pirate Day. Newton was born in Dorset and educated in Cornwall, and it was his native West Country dialect, which he used in his portrayal of Long John Silver

The archetypal pirate grunt “Arrr!” (alternatively “Rrrr!” or “Yarrr!”) first appeared in fiction as early as 1934 in the film Treasure Island starring Lionel Barrymore, and was used by a character in the 1940 novel Adam Penfeather, Buccaneer by Jeffrey Farnol, and Robert Newton also said it often in Treasure Island. It has been speculated that the rolling “rrr”, a distinctive element of the speech of the West Country of England, has been associated with pirates because of the West Country’s strong maritime heritage, with for many centuries fishing the main industry (and smuggling a major unofficial one). In the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance, which is set in Cornwall, the pirates used words with a lot of rrr’s such as “Hurrah” and “pour the pirate sherry”. The Captain Pugwash characters also spoke like this as did  Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy in the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies.

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