by Chris Bertram on September 19, 2007

Today is _International Talk Like a Pirate Day_ , which is no fun whatsoever in “a city”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol where all the locals talk like pirates all year round. The most likely outcome if any outsider tried to speak like a pirate would therefore be a smack in the mouth from an offended resident. But all is not lost, here’s a helpful guide to “talking like a German pirate”:http://www.talklikeapirate.com/howtogerman.html .



Seeraueber Jenny 09.19.07 at 11:13 am



des von bladet 09.19.07 at 12:10 pm

Cherman piraats? It is to laugh! It’s Dutch piraats you be wanting, my scurvy chum!

We zwaaien met zwaarden, zijn meedogenloos
We jatten van vrouwen en kinderen
En als je er van door gaat dan worden we boos
Want niemand, en niets mag ons hinderen
Dus lever maar in al je goed en je geld
Anders gebruiken we zeker geweld



alienaway 09.19.07 at 12:30 pm

Thanks for the link. Now as I go trotting off to the local (German) market, I will have to restrain from shouting something like “Avast ye Landratten, ihr landlubbers, out the Weg. Soll der Klabautermann y’all Kielholen, by my Papagei.” in the pseudo seafaring accent of Käp’tn Blaubär (a popular cartoon figure). Then I have to suppress any urges to plunder the place. That might be difficult considering some of the prices. Those Pfeffersäcke! I had forgotten that this wonderful holiday was coming up and really could have used it this morning, it makes for a much more entertaining (for me anyway) yappping at people to get up. Raus aus den Kojen! What do pirates say when they are in a good mood?


Mrs Tilton 09.19.07 at 12:55 pm

Pace His Imperial Majesty, Tschörmanie could come up with a half decent pirate or two back in the day. I’ll see your “Schrik van de Zee” and raise you a “Störtebeker”:

Sțrtebeker Рwir vergessen dich nicht.
Sțrtebeker Рund wir trinken auf dich!
Sțrtebeker Рdu warst der beste Mann deiner Zeit.
“Haifisch” nanntest du dein Schiff
Und es stand immer für dich bereit.
Und nun singt das Linkendeeler Lied:
“Wo uns’re Fahne weht,
Ist es für jedes Schiff zu spät.
Wir sind im Kampfe vereint,
Des lieben Gottes Freund
Und aller Welt Feind!”

(Ob-ITLAPD: Yarr!)


Jacob Christensen 09.19.07 at 2:02 pm

I’m afraid that the best Danish angle I can come up with on this day is the true and fascinating story of Erik VII, of Pomerania (he was originally christened Bugislav, btw), King of Denmark 1396-1438.

In 1438, a conflict between Erik and Danish nobility led to Erik first starting a royal strike (strike in the meaning “refusing to perform his royal duties”), then being deposed and replaced with his nephew Christoffer of Bavaria.

But how should you spend your days and gain a living when you are a deposed king?

Bugislav/Erik retreated to the Baltic island of Gotland and lived as a pirate for the next decade until the Danish government had had enough of the show, bought him out and guaranteed a safe passage to Pomerania.

So if you want to talk like a pirate in Scandinavia, you should probably try your hand (or mouth) at Gutnish, the peculiar dialect still spoken on Gotland.

Alternatively, you might want to try going through the full list of Captain Haddock’s insults in Danish.


"Q" the Enchanter 09.19.07 at 2:15 pm

But how did the German pirates say, “Arrrrrrrrrrr…”?


Mrs Tilton 09.19.07 at 2:20 pm

“q” @6,

this would have been a problem only for German pirates from Swabia (Schwäbisch is almost completely non-rhotic). But Swabia is very far from the sea indeed, and its pirates were probably restricted to bothering Swiss pleasure-boaters on Lake Constance.


JP Stormcrow 09.19.07 at 5:13 pm

Oil is the only large industry whose leverage has not been all that effective in the political arena. Textiles, electronics, agriculture all seem often to be more influential. Our constituency is not only oilmen from Louisiana and Texas, but software writers in Massachusetts and specially steel producers in Pennsylvania. I am struck that this industry is so strong technically and financially yet not as politically successful or influential as are often smaller industries. We need to earn credibility to have our views heard.

Dick Cheney at the UK-based Institute of Petroleum in 1999.

…oh this isn’t Talk Like an International Pirate Day?


dsquared 09.19.07 at 5:46 pm

But how did the German pirates say, “Arrrrrrrrrrr…”?



Disappointed Pittsburgh Fan 09.19.07 at 7:04 pm

Talk like a Pirate day? Okay:

“I’m lousy at baseball, and haven’t had a winning season in fifteen years.”

Or did you mean the privateer type? In which case nevermind.


mollymooly 09.19.07 at 7:20 pm

Arrrr is Mummerset for “Yes”, so German pirates would say Jaaaa.


david 09.19.07 at 9:45 pm

I struggled enough learning Pirate, now you want me to learn German?!?!


Danielle Day 09.19.07 at 9:47 pm

What they really mean is International Talk Like Robert Newton Day. But i wouldn’t get too carried away…

Oh the pirates in their fetid galleons, daggers in their skivvies
With infected tattooed fingers on a blunderbuss or two
Signs of scurvy in their eyes & only mermaids on their minds
It’s from them I would expect to hear the F-word, not from you.

From “A Chat with Your Mother”, Lou + Peter Berryman


Doug 09.19.07 at 10:06 pm

“The names of these pirates, the Doctor thought, were not dissimilar to those of pigeons; a panoply of blacks and shades of gray, colourful in adjectives rather than hues.

As to the pirates as agents of political transformation, he had made some notes upon the subject, which indicated that their primary purpose was taking things from ships and trading them for rum and intimate favours, in places ranging from Tortuga to Whitehall. Some did affect views on individual freedom, though these would have rattled the brains of a Paine or a Wollstonecraft, and the notion that they were a seething mass of nautical Robespierres would not stand the light.

It was good to have an enemy, he reflected, and it was good to have an enemy who believed odd things that were incompatible with one’s own views. He had encountered sailors from English towns that were fiercely proud of having been sacked by ships scattered from the Armada. While the only evidence of such pillage was here a stack of cannonballs and there a public house named “Ye Dead Spaniardo,” every man from those villages stood ready, centuries later, to take the battle back to Philip II, with his dreadful religion and his incomprehensible consonants.”

In Celebration of Talk Like Dr. Stephen Maturin Day, by John M. Ford


brad wright 09.19.07 at 11:58 pm

The trajectory of pirate-talk day in our house, from the kids point of view.

– Dad is talking like a pirate, how funny

– Dad is still talking like a pirate, he must really like it

– Dad, will you stop with the pirate talk!


swampcracker 09.20.07 at 12:29 am

Seeraueber Jenny, shouldn’t that be Spelunken Jenny?


Jenny Diver 09.20.07 at 12:18 pm

Actually it should be Seeraeuber Jenny–pardon my umlaut. And “Hopla!”, if you insist.


Saul Edengarten 09.20.07 at 3:14 pm

This is a site of academics and economists: nerds with eye-patches. I would rather have a crew who knew their sternposts from their transoms.

Analytic piracy is a piracy of first principles; parrot-like logic on a brittle peg leg foundation, ill-fitted to the seven seas. Real-world piracy undoes those principles in revelry and debauchery.

Analytic piracy is a decadent formalism, internally consistent but describing nothing beyond its own skull and bones. But they had lawyers on Tortuga, and they worked out the meaning of the letters of marque in a process of dialogue. The analytic pirates always end up walking the plank; joining the equally un-self-aware sharks.

Prizing expertise in the Piratensprache above all else, you think the ships you don’t seize must not be relevant. We should be teaching people not what to loot but how.

Consciousness is flawed; rum is cheap. So there.


engels 09.20.07 at 10:32 pm

I always thought the reason sharks didn’t attack lawyers was “professional courtesy”. Now I see it is because lawyers are so much more humane, open-minded and democratic than those dastardly analytic philosophers.


Saul Edengarten 09.21.07 at 1:48 pm

Seventeenth century piracy was a response to the revival of scholasticism and formalism of the rationalists and baroque art.

While Descartes tried to deduce the world autonomously from the thinking self and Spinoza copied the language of mathematics, Morgan was sacking Panama. Who left a more lasting impression? Who was the bigger humanist?

Sharks are a Rumsfeldian outgrowth of the culture of expertise, but at least they are honest. Geeks blog about how the US Navy cracks down on pirates.

I’m writing from the Malacca Strait, I have no time.

This is bad for my blood pressure.


engels 09.21.07 at 3:41 pm

If I have exhausted the justifications, I have reached bedrock, and my spade is turned. Then I am inclined to say: “Arrrrr!”


saul edengarten 09.22.07 at 6:23 pm

If one doesn´t understand the origins of modern piracy, I don´t know what to do. What are you trying to prove?

Pirates, like theater critics and porn actresses, and unlike scientists, are capable of creating an ironic distance, not only towards other people, but also from themselves. The world needs more of all the former, not less.

And science stopped being a humanistic endeavor when physicists started talking about cosmic inflation. Combining empiricism with rampant first-principles mathematical speculation is bullshit.

I´ll ask my broker about dark matter and get back to you later.


engels 09.22.07 at 7:41 pm

Pirates, like theater critics and porn actresses, and unlike scientists, are capable of creating an ironic distance, not only towards other people, but also from themselves. The world needs more of all the former, not less.

“Ironie, wie Gott, ist tot.” Prof. Richard Hawkins


saul edengarten 09.23.07 at 10:05 pm

Brooks argues “through irony, paradox, ambiguity and other rhetorical and poetic devices of his or her art, the poet works constantly to resist any reduction of the poem to a paraphrasable core, favoring the presentation of conflicting facets of theme and patterns of resolved stresses.”

Brooks would be a great pirate name.

The cheap tawdry ideal of science run amok, of the search for “truth” is an attempt to compress the irreducible. But the artiste knows better than to paraphrase experience, life, self-awareness and poetry.

Preaching in a wasteland of science-fiction fans. Jesus fucking christ.

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