Talk Like a Pirate

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Youngblood: Argh! You catch on quick for a land-lover!
Pirate Parrot: It's "lubber".
Youngblood: Really? It's "lubber"? That makes no sense!

Why are Pirates always from Norfolk? Because they Arrrr!!

Avast! This be a Self-Demonstratin' Arrrticle, matey.

In all o' history since the dawn of time, thar be pirates. Julius Caesar fought 'em, and to this day pirates be takin' ships off the coast o' Somalia. Logic dictates that all these pirates be speakin' many a tongue, but in Hollywood, thar be only one way for pirates t' talk!

In fact, this trope be New-arrr Than They Think. The standard Pirate accent was said ta ha' been invented by a scurvy lan'lubb'r callin' himself Robert Newton for the 1950 movie Treasure Island. Thar even be a scene in the film where he ends a prayer with "Arrrmen."

However, yer new-fangled "Piratespeak" be somethin' o' a very exad-urated parody of some English rural accents o' the 16th century. A "snapshot" of a moment in the language durin' the "Great Vowel Shift", as it were. Thar be some who've argued the associatin' o' English rural accents with seafarin' folk be on account o' that scourge o' the sea, Lord Nelson, whose contemporaries noted his heavy Norfolk accent, but Treasure Island did popularise it, as well as that lovliest o' all phrases, "ARRRRHHHH!"

This be specifically inclusive o' characters talkin' like pirates while obviously not bein' pirates, or havin' a pirate-themed episode or moment as a joke. But also be includin' times when a fictional pirate talks "piratey", even tho' he might not 'ave in reality.

For more piratey fun, be ye also lookin' at that fine article, Pirate. And be sure to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, or I'll be havin' yer guts fer garters, lan'lubb'r!

Any swab among ye who mixes us up with them poncey fops at Antiquated Linguistics or Flowery Elizabethan English gets a lick o' the Cat.

Examples O' This Trope in Action

Hoist the Sails for Advertisements[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime and Manga Sighted![edit | hide]

  • Arr-verted in One Piece, shockingly (with the possible exception of Gold Roger...). Though there'll probably be a future character who will abuse this to no end. It's not so shocking: Japanese has no equivalent of the Pirate Talk. Not completely avoided, though—Brook's special laugh is the old-fashioned "Yohohoho!" The English translation of the manga will occasionally add in pirate talk, actually, but not to a great extent.
  • Captain Smudge from Serendipity the Pink Dragon speaks like this.

Audio Adaptations Ahoy![edit | hide]

Captain's Log Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • This be the manner a speech used by rogue privateer Jim Hawkins in Lullaby. Ditto his trusty shoulder parrot Crew. "Enemy ship to stern!", indeed...
  • This also be th' gimmick a Zanzibar, one a th' deadly Dreadnoks from parts near G.I. Joe.
  • The Skull of Agarash, a graphic novel set in the Lone Wolf world, is rife with this with the Lakuri Isles pirates and Cleosian sailors.
  • This be the usual manner of speakin' for that seagoin' varlet Cap'n Fear what fights Batman fights from time to time.
  • The dead-tree edition of the webcomic Get Medieval includes a bonus story involving Japanese pirates:

Pirate Leader: Ahoy, ye scurvy buggers! We be here for revenge!
Another Pirate: An' now we're no workin' for that landlubber, we be allowed to talk like pirates!

Fan Works... and a Bottle of Rum[edit | hide]

Animation Films, Matelots![edit | hide]

Live-Action Films! Thar They Blow![edit | hide]

  • Jaws. After that old salt Quint got on ta givin' him a hard time, Hooper uses pirate talk, including the phrase "Jim boy".
  • Pirate Steve from DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.
  • There's also the obscure movie Pirates of the Great Salt Lake.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Cap'n Barbossa. "Dearly Beloved, we be gathered here today... to nail yer gizzard to the mast, yer poxy cur!" He even hangs a lampshade on it in the third movie: "No! What AARRRRRHHH ya doin'?"
    • Blackbeard also talks like this in On Stranger Tides, though he doesn't go as overboard with it as Barbossa does.
  • Painfully used in the pornographic film Pirates XXX during a Girl-On-Girl Is Hot scene by the pirate spectators. They stand around saying "ARRRR" during the "action".

The Treasure Chests o' Literature[edit | hide]

"Vittles, sez you!" cried the captain, rolling both eyes. "Why, then vittles it is, sez I, wi' all my heart, aye, an' a flagon o'ale, devil a doubt, or Spanish vino, sa-ah! to wet our whistles, an' damn all, wi' a curse. Scupper me wi' a handspike." he added triumphantly. "else."

    • One of the pirates speaks with a thick Welsh accent, but he's a one-joke character specifically put in to parody the labor union militancy that was common in Britain when the novel was written. Jokes about the Nautical Union of Piratical Employees striking in support of Red Robbo are just part of the deliberate Anachronism Stew in this novel.
  • Subverted, or at least general "sea talk" is subverted, in Jingo. A ship's captain tells Vimes "That yo-ho-ho stuff's for landlubbers, or at least it would be if we actually used words like landlubber. We don't say port and starboard. I've never even drunk starboard!" Part of this is just the captain twitting the profoundly non-nautical Vimes, though. After seeing Vimes throw the anchor and the ship's boats overboard to increase their speed and being told "to put on the brakes" to stop an imminent shipwreck on a lee shore, the captain is driven to use the word "landlubber" in legitimate anger for the first time in his life.
  • Miya Black Pirate Princess speaks like an educated and intelligent fourteen year old princess... unless she's really fired up, in which case she drops into pirate speak.
  • The Pirate Primer, by George Choundas, is an actual guide for layman on how to Talk Like a Pirate and includes phrases found in many books, films, and television shows, as well as a few Real Life examples. Incidentally, there's an entire chapter devoted to all the subtle nuances behind "Arrgh!"

Here Be Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Those lily-livered landlubbers in Monty Python did Long John Silver impersonations in several Flying Circus sketches, arrrhh.
  • Adam talking like a pirate is sort of a pseudo-Running Gag in MythBusters, and he gets to do it to his heart's content in the episode showcasing Pirate myths.
  • Newscommentator Keith Olbermann talks like this, for no particularly clear reason, when imitating Rupert Murdoch. But not Ann Coulter, even though his picture of her has an eyepatch and he calls her "Pirate Annie".
  • Doctor Who: In "The Infinite Quest", the Doctor and Martha talk like pirates through Private Kelvin's communicator to avert a battle that is about to happen. The Doctor does all the pirate talk, while Martha just goes "Arr... Arr Arr..." and the Doctor tells her to stop doing that.
  • Xander went as a pirate for Hallowe'en in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fifth season episode "All the Way". As for talking like a pirate...

Xander: Store go boom... Arr.

  • The infamous Saturday Night Live sketch in which a pirate convention (held at the at the Ritz Carrrrlton) hired actor Peter Saarsgaard to be their keynote speaker simply because of all the "arrrr"s in his name. Yes, this WAS the best joke they could come up with featuring Peter Saarsgaard.
  • Captain Redbeard Rum (Tom Baker) talks this way in the Blackadder 2 episode "Potato", although technically he isn't a pirate.

Rum: Opinion is divided on whether it is customary for a ship to have a crew. All the other captains say 'tis; I say 'tisn't.

Marshall: What be a pirate's favourite kind of sweater?
Lily: Arr-gile!
Marshall: And what be a pirate's favourite fast food restaurant?
Lily: Arr-by's!
Marshall: 'twould think it would be Arby's... but actually it's Long John Silver's.

Music and Other Shanties[edit | hide]

Myths and Legends, Marine or Otherwise[edit | hide]

New Media, Swabbing the Deck Optional[edit | hide]

  • Time was, the main page of TV Tropes were changed ta pirate speak, for Talk Like a Pirate Day. If'n ye should believe in such tales, talk be heard that th'incident archived yet still somewhar 'pon that very wiki... AND THAR BE A GHOST IN IT or some such.
  • Facebook has an English(Pirate) language setting. In this setting, the language choice setting is called 'DON'T TOUCH THIS'.
  • As does Google.
  • Instructions can be found here.
  • The anti-virus program Avast! has a pirate language option that they remind you of when Talk Like a Pirate Day rolls around. Whether or not it is turned off afterwards is up to you.

Newspaper Comics Off the Port Bow[edit | hide]

Puppet Shows, Yaaarrgh[edit | hide]

"Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free! You are a pirate!"

Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, A Radio for Me[edit | hide]

  • The Million Pound Radio Show: "Us pirates wants us a training day!"

Battles on Tabletop[edit | hide]

  • Captain Kraken in Mutants and Masterminds talks like this because he learned English from Hollywood pirate movies. He can be played as everything from a serious threat (evil squid-faced Space Pirate) to comic relief (evil squid-faced Space Pirate who refers to his opponents as "scurvy dogs").

Theatarrrrgh[edit | hide]

Video Games n' Pieces o' Eight[edit | hide]

Pirate: Harr! Give up yer booty, yer cargo is ours now!
Rouge: Why is he talking like that?
Sonic: Who knows? Just go with it.
Pirate: Hand it over, lubbers! Or ye'll be forced to walk the plank!
Rouge: Seriously. Why would a pirate from another dimension talk like that?
Pirate: Arr, this be just how I talk! Now-
Rouge: This is stupid.
Pirate: Aye. A speech impediment it be. We gonna fight, or not?

  • Cubot in this cutscene from Sonic Colors when he first gets his voice chip changed.
  • Kingdom of Loathing
    • The Can of Binarrrca gives you the "Talking Like a Pirate" status effect, which randomly adds "Yarrr", "Arrr", "Avast ye!", or "Ahoy, Matey!" to the end of your messages in chat.
    • Kingdom of Loathing Abuses this to no end. If there's anything to do with pirates that has an ar in it, there will be more r's. even if it is not traditionally associated with pirates, like the Safarrri Hat.
  • The MMORPG Pirates of the Caribbean Online, bein' run by them scab'rous swabs at Disney, needs to protect the wee young flotsam from the filthy language of other foulmouthed buccaneers, and changes words that aren't "recognized" by the chat servers dictionary into "arrr". (Ye can turn this option off though, making this swashbuckler wonder just what they think they be achievin' with it.)
  • Oddly enough, most be averted in Skies of Arcadia, with the exception of Drachma, the grumpy old fisherman.
  • The first official English translation of Final Fantasy V had Faris speaking like this.
  • The Online multiplayer puzzle game Puzzle Pirates has most of its lines in this style. There's even an option to hide swear words and convert them to piratey swears, like "Billions of blisterin' barnacles!"
  • If'n ye be playin' Sid Meier's Pirates! on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, then all o' the characters in the game, even the comely governors' daughters, be talkin' like this. That's what landlubbers call an Easter Egg, Boyo.
  • Neverwinter Nights demo module "Thar be Rats! Yarrr!" It seems Uncle Fester was an ex-piratey.

"Yarrr! This here be yer demo of dat filthy beast der rat! Arrr!"

  • Subverted in RuneScape, where the actual pirates mock the player when they speak like that.
  • Redbeard's Ghost in Scooby Doo: Night of a Hundred Frights does this as his Boss Banter.
  • Gonzo in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker talks a little bit like this. Subverted in that everyone else on the ship speaks normally, especially Tetra, which is justified, because you can't have Princess Zelda saying "Arrrhh" after every other sentence. That'd be just ridiculous.
  • Averted in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. The undead pirate Cortez has a Spanish accent, befitting his name.
  • Subverted in Discworld Noir, in which a sailor on the Milka initially speaks to Lewton in stereotypical pirate accent and sea-dog jargon, but quits hamming it up when Lewton calls him on it.
  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Ragna's Gag Reel, Robot Girl Nu appears as a Pirate Girl, then suddenly started picking this up along with Valley Girl.

"Nu! Sea or valley! Pick one!"

  • The Ork freebooterz in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Retribution, led by Kaptin Bluddflagg, talk not only like pirates, but also like Orks.
  • Adventure Quest
    • Captain Rhubarb does this all the time in both Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable, as do most minor pirate characters.
    • Captain Frolgar in Adventure Quest and its expansion Warp Force speaks with a pirate accent, as well as having a traditional pirate look.
    • Karlina and Jayson, two Space Pirates in Warp Force, speak with a pirate accent.

Karlina: Methinks this scurvy bilge rat is making a fool of ye, Jayson.
Jayson: Aye. Perhaps we should make these two walk the plank into the fusion coolant, eh, Karlina?
Karlina: Yaaarrr!!

  • The third Sly Cooper game features Sly having to visit a town that intentionally throws itself back to 'pirate times'. The pirates talk like this, and Sly has to imitate it at one point.
  • The 1.1 Update for Minecraft has an option to change your language. Naturally, Pirate Speak is one of the options.
  • Spoofed in zOMG! when an NPC dressed as a pirate disses you in Pirate Speak, and dialogue options include replying in kind. After exchanging enough quips, he says this:

"Arrr! Ye win! I've nae more insults!"

Shantae: Moist the main snail! Keel the port blubber!
Risky: Sigh... We'll work on that...

Fifteen Web Animations...[edit | hide]

  • Red vs. Blue: "Arr, I be havin' a southern accent. Yarr."
  • Russell, from Happy Tree Friends, is perhaps the most extreme version of this. The characters in the show are mostly unintelligible, and Russell is no exception: his entire vocabulary consists mainly of the word "Yarr!"

... on a Web Comics' Chest[edit | hide]

  • The Repository of Dangerous Things features Wanderin' Laurie. If yer curious if she be a pirate, yer all kerrectly. Also, if ye remember proper terminology from yer Talk Like a Pirate Day, it can save yer guts.
  • Pokémon-X turns Magma vs Aqua intae Rednecks vs Pirates.
  • The pirates in Irregular Webcomic, of course. Then got inverted in this strip, being on Talk Like a Pirate Day, the pirate invert their speech to British style.
  • Blossom from Rhapsodies, though that's just her being from Devon [dead link]
  • Exaggerated in Keychain of Creation: Seatongue apparently consists entirely of a bunch of piratey words strung together, most of which are variations on "arr".

Mew Cai: Aharr yarr, harr <Seatongue> yarr?
Secret: Avast! Yo ho yaharr harr yarr, matey!
Mew Cai: Aharr yarr yo ho, scurvy dog bilges.

Captain: Ye been captur'd, boy, by th' boldest brigand between th' Sevens Seas... PLAIDBEARD the Pirate!

Xykon: I like you this way. It's like we have a grumpy pirate on the team.
Demon-roach: Thus began the Legend of Arrrghcloak!
Xykon: OK then, let's cast off, ye evil mateys!

DuPree: Ooooh, I've missed you, me proud beauty. Hee hee! YARRRR!

Web Original and a Bottle of Rum[edit | hide]

  • Open Blue‍'‍s help topics tend to shift into and out of it. Depends on the mood, apparently.

Western Animation and Really Bad Eggs[edit | hide]

Shego: ... Argh, be to get them, me h--... hardlies?

Real Life, Yo-Ho[edit | hide]

  • In 1995, Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy be introducin' to the world an Innernation'l Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19, so all humanity be talkin' like a pirate fer one glorious day.
  • Considering many pirates came from the south west of England including Blackbeard, Robert Newton was pretty much spot on with the accent...
  • Mad Cap'n Tom be standin' for Parleyment in the 2010 UK General Election. For some reason he only be gettin' 84 votes though.

...Yarr!

  1. That's because it was her sixteenth birthday, and she worried he might be obscurely mocking her.