Aye, my hearts, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day (Thanks to Miguel for reminding us.)
And seeings as our upcoming CD has to do with piratical riff-raff and adventures on the high seas, I enthusiastically encourage you to delve into you inner buccaneer.
There is not one way to sound like a pirate. Those who plied the waves came from all over — Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, continental Europe, colonial America, Africa, the Carribean, the Crimea, the Far East. The sounds of the language on board were much more diverse than “Aaargh, mateys”!
What we think of as pirate talk today is based largely on one particular actor’s interpretation of Long John Silver. (“Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson.) That be Robert Newton, a native of Dorset, England who became famous in the 50s for his work as Long John Silver for Walt Disney films and later in a TV series.
Newton was familair with the accent of nearby Bristol from whence the character Long John Silver hailed and he used that accent to infuse his characterization of the one-legged, story-telling, salty dog.
Enjoy a clip of Robert Newton’s now classic portrayal.